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DICTIONARY OF 



GODS AND 
GODDESSES 



SECOND EDITION 



MICHAEL )ORDAN 




DICTIONARY OF 

GODS AND 
GODDESSES 

SECOND EDITION 



MICHAEL JORDAN 



Facts On File, Inc. 



For Beatrice Elizabeth Jordan 



Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition 

Copyright © 2004, 1993 by Michael Jordan 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or 

by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any 
information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. 

For information contact: 

Facts On File, Inc. 

132 West 31st Street 
New York NY 10001 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Jordan, Michael, 1941- 
Dictionary of gods and godesses / Michael Jordan.- 2nd ed. 
p. cm. 

Rev. ed. of: Encyclopedia of gods. cl993. 
Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN 0-8160-5923-3 

1. Gods-Dictionaries. 2. Goddesses-Dictionaries. I.Jordan, Michael, 1941- Encyclopedia of gods. II. Tide. 

BL473.J67 2004 
202'.ll'03-dc22 

2004013028 

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for businesses, associations, institutions, or sales promotions. Please call our Special 
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Text design by David Strelecky 
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Printed in the United States of America 

VB EOF 10 987654321 

This book is printed on acid-free paper. 



CONTENTS 

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

V 

INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EDITION 

vii 

CHRONOLOGY OF THE PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS 
AND CULTURES COVERED IN THIS BOOK 

xiii 

DICTIONARY OF GODS AND GODDESSES 

1 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 
361 



INDEX 
367 



PREFACE TO THE 
SECOND EDITION 



It is explained in the introduction to this volume 
that no database of deities worldwide can ever 
hope to be comprehensive. There are just too 
many regional variations amongst the larger reli- 
gion blocks and, equally, a vast number of very 
localized cults, each with its own idiosyncratic 
pantheons of gods and goddesses. The intention 
of the first edition was to cover all the major the- 
aters of belief as extensively as was feasible at the 
time, with the primary object of including most of 
the names of deities that the student was likely to 
come across while traveling to religious and 
archaeological sites around the world, or research- 
ing in museums and libraries. This meant that 
much attention was paid to the living polytheistic 
religions, including Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and 
Shinto. It was also thought constructive to include 
as many names as possible from Ancient Near 
Eastern, Egyptian, Classical Roman and Greek, 
Norse, Celtic, and Germanic pantheons since, 
in recent decades, there has been a resurgence 
of interest in many of these among "alternative 
religion" movements. 

As a result of these decisions, certain geograph- 
ical areas were under-represented in the first edi- 
tion. Most notably they included the Pacific islands 
of Hawaii, Polynesia, Melanesia and Alicronesia, 
along with Australia and New Zealand with the 
venerated traditions of the Australian Aborigines 



and the Maori. All of these cultures are richly 
endowed with deities. In recent years some spe- 
cialized reference works, focusing on the "Pacific 
traditions," have been published and the additional 
entries in the book draw on valuable resources of 
information that were not all widely available when 
the first edition was compiled. 

Away from the southern hemisphere cultures, 
two specific new entries deserve mention. Helen 
of Troy was omitted fi-om the first edition because 
she is widely regarded as having been a mortal 
queen made famous through Homeric legend. 
According to the great Greek historian Hesiod, 
however, Helen was a goddess and as such worthy 
of inclusion here. And, in response to widespread 
interest in the history of the Knights Templar, I 
have included an entry on Baphomet, the medieval 
deity allegedly worshiped by that order of knights. 

The chronology section has been re-worked 
and the bibliography substantially expanded to 
incorporate a large number of titles that have 
been published since the first edition of the 
Encyclopedia of Gods, while retaining the details 
of older references. Many of the newer titles are 
currently in print and widely available in book- 
stores and from online sources. 

Numerous cross-references and a comprehen- 
sive index have been added to this edition to allow 
easy access to the information. 



V 



INTRODUCTION 
TO THE FIRST EDITION 



In compiling a book like Encyclopedia of Gods, one 
is struck both by the enormous number and vari- 
ety of deities that occur in different religions 
around the world, and also by the way patterns 
repeat themselves — almost every culture has its 
creator gods, gods concerned with a locally impor- 
tant aspect of the weather, goddesses of fertility, 
gods whose duty it is to protect the home. The 
same mysteries have puzzled people on every 
continent, the same fears have beset them and they 
have all attempted to explain the mysteries 
and allay the fears in the same way — through the 
worship of gods. 

We know, beyond reasonable doubt, that a 
world measured purely in spiritual dimensions has 
been identified for at least 60,000 years — it may 
have been present as an innate part of the human 
psyche since the very beginnings of consciousness. 
But why does the human spirit harbor such a need 
for gods? 

The beginnings of an answer to this question 
may be found in the beliefs of the simplest cul- 
tures. Primitive peoples attribute to all of nature, 
everything which exists in a physical state, a 
spiritual identity that is ever-present but unseen, 
conjured or appeased by the special powers 
placed upon certain individuals of the tribe, the 
shamans or wise ones. These spirits may be poorly 
defined, but they are endowed with human form 
and human habits: they walk, talk, enjoy sexual 
relations, exhibit anger, sorrow, joy, mischief 
and so on. Thus one finds in simple shamanistic 



faiths such characters as "cloud man" and "grass 
woman," "old man of rocks" and "reindeer child." 

As this animistic style of religion develops, the 
rather vague ethereal spirits of clouds, rocks, trees, 
birds and animals become detached from their 
temporal "shells" and take on progressively more 
abstract associations. Thus we find a goddess of 
childbirth, a god of storms, a god of blacksmiths 
or sailors, even a deity concerned with the proper 
use of pots and pans. As the scope of their respon- 
sibilities broadens, the deities become more 
clearly defined, more "human" personaHties. We 
come to know them by their appearances, by their 
style of dress, by the attributes they carry. Yet 
some of their animistic traits persist and they may 
still be identified in inanimate symbols and 
devices, and be represented as animals or other 
living things. The social infrastructure of the spirit 
world may also closely mirror our own: thus 
deities become arranged in hierarchical orders 
known as pantheons and may be separated into 
groups, not only responsible for different areas of 
worldly control, but also directing their powers 
toward good or evil. 

T) explain the precise significance in our Hves of 
gods and goddesses is more complicated because 
it may alter according to environment and accord- 
ing to the stage of social and economic develop- 
ment. Again it necessitates a return to the template 
provided in the most simple religions. Without 
the benefit of science, technology and history, the 
natural world is a puzzling and frightening place, 



VII 



VIII Introduction to the First Edition 



steered by great invisible forces. If every object in 
nature has a spiritual identity, which may be con- 
sidered to act as its protector or guardian, logic 
dictates that mankind's activities affect the object 
not only in its physical state but also in its spiritual 
dimension. Thus the approval of the relevant spirit 
must be obtained before the slaughter of game, 
the felling of a tree, the commencement of a jour- 
ney, the building of a house. Responsibility for our 
actions is taken irom us and given into the hands 
of an all-povs^erful, if unseen being. 

The need to expiate our activities has persisted 
down the millennia: the prime role of gods is still 
to protect, to steer, to govern the order of Hfe and 
to provide answers to conundrums which science 
and the modern temporal world cannot resolve. 

This encyclopedia contains more than 2,500 
entries of deities derived from both ancient and 
contemporary cultures. It does not generally 
include personalities regarded as demigods, 
demons or mythical heroes. A demigod is defined 
here as a personaUty who was once mortal but has 
been elevated to the celestial ranks. Generally 
speaking, and it is certainly true of the occidental 
rehgions, gods are iconic figures whose "pedigree" 
belongs exclusively in the heavens. They are dis- 
tinct and separate from humankind. In some reh- 
gions, however, most notably Buddhism, all deities 
are perceived as having once been mortal beings 
whose pursuit of excellence and enhghtenment has 
elevated them ever higher through a series of 
spheres or planes toward perfection. In the 
mythologies of other cultures, often of a tribal 
nature, there exist significant ancestral personaU- 
ties who have clearly been deified and are treated 
entirely as gods and goddesses e.g. the Sumerian 
god Dumuzi or the Norse god Balder. In such 
instances, personalities that might correctly be 
regarded as demigods have an entry here. It should 
be noted, therefore, that while Gautama Buddha is 
included, there are no entries for Jesus Christ or 
the prophet Muhammad. 



Although certain cultures, such as those of 

Greece and Rome, will be well known to most 
readers, others will be less famihar, and some his- 
torical background may be useful. 

The Sumerians were the first high civilization to 
inhabit Mesopotamia. Their style of cuneiform 
writing was only deciphered a few years ago and 
much of their history and circumstance is still not 
properly known. In the twenty-fourth century BC 
they were taken over by the Akkadians under Sar- 
gon and the style of writing changed to a Semitic 
cuneiform. The names of many deities changed at 
the same time. The Old Babylonian era began at 
about the end of the second millennium BC and 
was marked largely by the influence of the law- 
making king Hammurabi. With some interrup- 
tions, the influence of Babylon continued through 
the neo-Babylonian period of biblical notoriety, 
until roughly two hundred years before the birth of 
Christ. The Hittite Empire arose in the motm- 
tainous region of what is now Tirkey and its period 
of influence was comparatively short-Uved. The 
Hurrians, closely linked with the Hittite Empire, 
were less a compact culture than a loose-knit and 
widely traveled people who shared a cormnon lan- 
guage. They influenced much cross-fertilization 
of culture in the ancient Near East. 

The demise of these ancient orders came in 539 
BC when the Persians under Cyrus conquered 
Babylon. Their hegemony was brief and was 
replaced by the Greek influences of Alexander the 
Great and his Macedonian Empire in the fourth 
century BC. The Romans under Pompey came in 
the first century EC. Muslim expansionism took 
over key areas of Syrio-Palestine and Persia in the 
seventh century AD, introducing the new rehgion 
of Islam to an area which had seen strong, if short- 
lived, influence from Zoroastrianism. 

In parallel with the Mesopotamian cultures, that 
of Egypt survived more or less intact from some- 
time before 3000 EC until the end of the Roman 
Empire period, though from the first century AD, 



Introduction to the First Edition IX 



under Roman provincial rule, the makeup of its 

religion becomes increasingly confused. 

The classical religions of Greece and Rome sup- 
planted those of the ancient world as the dominant 
occidental faiths. Greece was the pioneer and, 
although known properly from about 800 BC, co- 
incidental with the rise of the city states, her deities 
were probably well established in much earlier 
times, perhaps in the Mycenaean age which began 
circa 1600 BC. Rome seems largely to have bor- 
rowed deities from Greece and renamed them. 
Her influence collapsed vnth the sack of Rome by 
the Visigoths in 410 AD. 

Elsewhere in Europe the Celtic gods were prob- 
ably taking substance as early as the late Bronze 
Age in central Europe (circa 900 BC) but they come 
under historical scrutiny only from about 400 BC. 
Celtic culture was effectively a spent force in 
Europe by the iirst century BC with the defeat of 
the Gaulish rebellion under Vercingetorix, but its 
influence continued in Ireland until Christianiza- 
tion in the fifth century AD. The Celts were never 
literate and names of deities are known only from 
Romano-Celtic inscriptions and the questionably 
accurate writings of Christian monks. The Vikings, 
vnth whom the Nordic Icelandic culture is most 
closely associated, began their major period of 
influence in the eighth century AD, but their deities 
are often modeled on older Germanic gods who 
probably held sway from at least the first or second 
centuries AD. Their culture is better recorded 
through the Icelandic Eddaic Hterature. 

In India, Hinduism took shape perhaps as early 
as 1700 BC with the migration of Aryan peoples 
from the southern steppes of Russia into the sub- 
continent. The development of the two great epic 
poems, the Ramayana and the Mahahharata, 
between 300 BC and 300 AD swelled the ranks of 
deities and the process of enlargement continued 
vnth the more recent Uterature of the Puranas and 
the development of Tantrism. Though now asso- 
ciated more with the Far East, Buddhism began in 



northern India with the teachings of Gautama 

Buddha in about 500 BC. It was introduced to 
China in the first centory and to Japan as late as the 
sixth century AD. 

Of the major Meso- and South American reli- 
gions discussed, the earliest is that of the Mayans, 
in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, whose civihza- 
tion arose in the fourth century BC, reached its 
peak during the seventh century ad and then 
waned in influence as the T)ltec Empire began to 
flourish. The Incas, though established on parts 
of the Pacific coast of Peru in the fifth century BC, 
did not begin serious cultoral expansion for several 
hundred years and their brief empire period com- 
menced in 143 8 AD. The Aztecs, in Mexico, started 
their rise to prominence about a hundred years 
earlier but were largely contemporary with the 
Incas. These pre-Columbian cultures came to an 
abrupt end with the arrival of the Conquistadors, 
Cortez routing the Aztec capital in 1521 and 
Pizarro taking Peru twelve years later. Almost all 
their sacred literature was destroyed. 

To assist in placing the various cultures in a 
chronological perspective, a chart is provided on 
page xui. 

It is notoriously difficult to pinpoint the moment 
in time at which a personality or a title first 
becomes identifiable as a deity. Frequendy a name 
is recognizable from a list or a text but it is not pos- 
sible to say with certainty whether that word 
reflects an object of worship or some more secular 
notion. The word may, at first, refer only to a phe- 
nomenon, such as the sunrise. Eventaally the term 
for sunrise is adopted as the proper name of a deity 
who is the apotheosis of that phenomenon, but 
precisely when that change in usage has taken place 
is unknovm. With rare exceptions, deities do not 
emerge "overnight." They are slow to evolve, often 
deriving from the personality of an older god or 
goddess. Likewise they may be highly tenacious, 
their worship dwindling imperceptibly, sometimes 
over many centuries. Rarely is the period of rever- 



X Introduction to the First Edition 



ence for a deity, from "source to sink," clear-cut. 
Because of the once enormous number of animistic 
spirits, a process of merging or syncretization fre- 
quently takes place when deities who exhibit sim- 
ilar roles become redundant and join forces as a 
single personality. Obviously when cultures 
merged, some deities were also superseded. Some- 
times a compound name may give a clue to this 
process, but often only the tide of the dominant 
figure remains for the record. 

Thus the chronology can never be precise and is 
frequently the subject of disagreement between 
scholars. Where dates are given for a "known 
period of worship," these are to be regarded as an 
approximate guide only. 

Apart from the distinctions outlined below, the 
deities listed here are treated equably, though many 
of the entries in large pantheons such as those of 
Hinduism and Buddhism are probably on a level 
of importance equal to that of Christian saints. 

Entries are in alphabetical order, without break- 
down into ethnic or cultural groups, and each entry 
is Usted under the name by which the deity is most 
commonly known. The modern geographical area 
of the world in which the deity is, or has been, rec- 
ognized is given in [square brackets]. 

Two types of entry are employed in the encyclo- 
pedia. Entries for deities who may be regarded as 
being, or having been, of major significance within 
their cultural area are headed by BOLD CAPI- 
TALS and are accorded a more detailed coverage in 
the text. The remainder are treated in less detail. In 
all cases the information includes the original cul- 
tural source. This may sometimes be reflected by a 
language e.g. Sumerian; by a cultural movement 
e.g. Babylonian, Hindu or Buddhist; or by a tribal 
identity e.g. Yoruba or Navajo. It should be noted 
that the term "Akkadian-Babylonian" is taken to 
mean that period influenced by the Akkadian and 
Babylonian hegemonies, during which texts were 
composed in the Semitic Akkadian language. 

Also included is the role of the deity in the 
pantheon — whether he or she is perceived as a 



creator, a god of concepts like fertility or death, or 

taking more specific responsibihty such as for the 
well-being of a maize crop. His or her immediate 
genealogy is Usted since gods and goddesses are 
invariably considered to have celestial parents, sib- 
lings and offspring. Mythology plays a significant 
role in sustaining a rehgion and its personaHties, 
particularly among the broad mass of cultures 
which are essentially non-literate. The deeds of 
spirit beings are recorded in word-of-mouth sto- 
ries. When mythology plays a significant part in 
the understanding or makeup of the personaUty, its 
oudines may be included and the literary source 
identified. Information which may be of use in rec- 
ognizing a god or goddess from iconography, such 
as dress, symbols, sacred animals and other attrib- 
utes is also provided when known, and art refer- 
ences are given. Attributes may be of particular 
importance in identifying deities from large and 
complex pantheons such as those fotmd in Hin- 
duism and Buddhism. These deities may appear in 
a number of physical forms or emanations in order 
to perform different roles i.e. as an ascetic, a lover, 
a prince or a warrior. Sometimes variations are 
described as avataras, which may be best explained 
as reincarnations in which a divine being has been 
born into the world to save it from danger and to 
restore order during some particular moment of 
disruption. 

Distinction is drawn between sky and astral per- 
sonalities who are perceived to live in the regions 
above the temporal world and who are generally 
concerned with climate, weather, cosmic events 
and other such heavenly activities, and those asso- 
ciated with the earth and its well-being. Thus 
deities of fertility, agriculture, the sea, domestic 
affairs and death are generally earth-bound and 
are described as chthonic. 

Tvo or more deities may be combined into a 
hybrid. Less than true syncretizations, such deities 
retain the hyphenated names of the original per- 
sonalities. Generally such hybridized deities are 
not given space. This is particularly appropriate in 



Introduction to the First Edition XI 



the case of the Hindu pantheon where the effect 

would be to incorporate very large numbers of 
names representing litde more than a fusion of 
two personalities detailed elsewhere in the encyclo- 
pedia. All significant avataras or incarnations of a 
deity are, however, included. In some cases we have 
no names for figures depicted in art, either because 
none are provided or because we cannot decipher 
them, but the iconic form is so well represented 
that academic circles have provided code letters 
e.g. those Mayan gods listed as God A, God B and 
so on. When it is generally assumed that a code- 
named figure is the same as a fully identified deity, 
the code name may be noted at the end of an entry. 

Where cross-references to other deities seem 
appropriate, these are included. The Romans were 
particularly prone to adopt Greek and Celtic 
deities, retaining more or less all the original per- 
sonality, but changing the name. Thus Zeus 
becomes Jupiter and Aphrodite is re-named Venus. 

Because of the numbers involved, no attempt 
has been made to indicate that a god mentioned in 
another's entry has an entry of his or her own. But 
if a deity is named without explanation, as Seth in 
the story of Horus and vice versa, the reader will 
usually find that an entry exists for that deity. 

When a name originates in a script form other 
than Roman, e.g. Sanskrit, the nearest phonetic 
equivalent is provided in the spelling. In many 
instances, particularly where there has been Greek 
influence, the name given is the Hellenized ver- 
sion. Where appHcable, the word Greek appears in 
[square brackets] as part of a heading: this applies 
to a number of Hellenized Egyptian deities whose 
Greek-style names are more commonly used; the 
original Egyptian name is then given at the end of 
the entry. The reader should be aware that other 
reference sources may interpret phonetics differ- 
ently and it is worth exploring possible alternative 
spellings if an entry is not immediately found. For 
illustration, the Greek god Asklepios may, in some 
other works, be entered as Asclepius. Spellings are 
generally those incorporated in the source refer- 



ence works cited in the bibliography. There are 

exceptions: the Loeb translations of Greek authors, 
for instance, tend to use "Romanized" spellings. 
Wherever applicable, a literal English translation 
of the meaning is given and alternative names and 
spellings may also be included under "synonyms" 
or at the end of the entry. If a form of a name is 
specific to a certain language or culture, this is also 
stated. 

It should be noted that in ancient Near Eastern 
pantheons, the sound sh is transcribed as /, and that 
in Baltic and some African languages, sh is tran- 
scribed as s. Generally, a c placed before the vowel 
sounds e or / is pronounced soft, Hke an ^. In all 
cases 2 should be pronounced like the French^ in 
jardin, though many people will prefer to employ 
the Anglicized pronunciation of names like Zeus. 

Although Encyclopedia of Gods represents the 
most comprehensive worldwide listing of deities 
available in a single volume, it makes no claim to be 
exhaustive. Aside from the reservations already 
stated, the volume of potential entries would make 
this an tmrealistic objective. The gods of Hatti 
(Hittite), for example, are described as being "in 
excess of 10,000." There are at least as many deities 
known to Japanese Shintoism. Many thousands 
more find their place in the Chinese pantheons. 
The volume therefore includes those names which 
a student or enthusiast of iconography or mythol- 
ogy would reasonably need to explore and which a 
casual reader or traveler might encounter in texts 
or inscriptions. 

One should always be aware that our present- 
day knowledge of the names and personalities of 
deities is strictiy governed. In too many instances 
ethnologists have simply not bothered to investi- 
gate local feiths before they have been corrupted or 
obliterated by the more universal modern reli- 
gions. Primitive societies have often been reluctant 
to speak the names of deities to outsiders for fear 
of divine — or missionary — reprisal. Thus there 
are accotmtable geographical gaps in what might 
otherwise be a more complete survey. 



Chronology of the Principal Religions and Cultures Covered in This Book 



CULTURE 



1 I 1 1 

3000 BC 2500 2000 1500 1000 



500 



1 1 1 1 — 

AD 500 1000 1500 2000 



SUMERIAN 

EGYPTIAN 

AUSTRALIAN 
ABORIGINAL 

AKKADIAN- 
BABYLONIAN 

HINDU 

HITTITE- 
HURRIAN 

GREEK 

HEBREW 

MAYAN 

CELTIC 

BUDDHIST 

ROMAN 

AFRICAN 
YORUBA 

POLYNESIAN 

NORDIC- 
ICELANDIC 

CHRISTIAN 

INCA 

AZTEC 

NZ MAORI 

ISLAMIC 




ESTIMATED HISTORY 



KNOWN HISTORY 



A 



A-a 

Sun goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akka- 
dian) and western Semitic. Consort of the sun 
god Samas. Also Aya. 

A'as 

God of wisdom. Hittite and Hurrian. Derived 
from the Mesopotamian model of Enki/Ea. A'as 
keeps the tablets of fate. 

Abandinus 

God of unknown affinities. Romano-Celtic 

(British). The name appears in an inscription at 
Cjodmanchester, Cambridge, England. 

Abellio 

Tree god. Romano-Celtic (Galhc). Known from 

inscriptions in the Garonne valley of southwest- 
ern France and thought to be associated with 
apple trees. 

Abeona 

Goddess of passage. Roman. Linked with the 
goddess Adeona, she is concerned with the safe 
going-out and coming-in of a child. 



Abgal 

1. Desert god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Known from the Palmyrian desert regions 
as a tutelary god of Bedouins and camel 
drivers. 

2. Minor attendant spirits. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian). Associated with Enke and residing in 
the Abzu or primeval water. 

Abhijit (victorious) 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Puranic). A 
benevolent naksatra or astral deity; daughter of 
Daksa and consort of Candra (Soma). 

Abhijnaraja 

Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among a series of sMan-Bla (medi- 
cine buddhas). Typically depicted with stretched 
earlobes. Color: red. 

Abhimiikhi (friendly disposed) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of 

twelve deified Bhumis recognized as different 

spiritual spheres through which a disciple 

passes. Color: yellow. Attributes: book and 

staff. 



I 



2 Abnoba 



Abnoba 

Forest and river goddess. Romano-Celtic (Conti- 
nental European). Known locally from the Black 
Forest region of Germany. The name "Avon," 
associated with many rivers, derives from her 
name. 

Abonsam 

Malevolent spirit. West African. Recognized by 
tribes in the Gold Coast, etc. Traditionally driven 
away in an annual expulsion ritual by firing guns 
and shouting loudly, emptying houses of furniture 
and beating the interiors with sticks. The abonsam 
was finally driven into the sea. The ritual was pre- 
ceded by four weeks of total silence in the area. 

Abu 

Minor vegetation god. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). Said to have sprung from the head of the god 
Enki, thus symboUzing plants emerging from the 
earth's soil. 

Abundantia 

Minor fertihty goddess. Roman. The personifica- 
tion of abtmdance. She continued in French myth- 
ology after the Roman occupation, as a lady who 
enters houses in the night, bringing prosperity. 

Abzu 

Primordial deity of underground waters, the 
"deep." Mesopotamian (Sumerian). His center of 
cult is at Eridu (southern Mesopotamia), and he 
was replaced in Akkadian times by APSU. 

Ac Yanto (our helper) 

God of white men. Mayan (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. The brother of the creator god 



Hachacyum. Responsible for the creation of 
European immigrants, including their possessions 
and products. 

Acacila 

Animistic spirit. Aymara Indian [Peru and 
Bolivia — ^Titicaca Basin]. One of a group of 
vaguely defined beings who control the weather, 
including rain, hail and frost. 

Acala (immovable) 

1. Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of 
twelve deified Bhumis recognized as different 
spiritual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: white. Attributes: staff on a lotus. 

2. Tutelary god. Buddhist (Mahayana). Also a 
dikpala or guardian of the northeastern quarter. 
Color: blue. Attributes: jewel, lotus, staff and 
sword. 



Acan 

God of wine. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico]. Identified with the local 

brew, balche, made from fermented honey to 
which the bark of the balche tree has been added. 



Acat 

God of tattooers. Mayan (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. 

Acca Larentia 

Obscure mother goddess. Roman. Believed in 
some traditions to be the mother of the Lares, but 
also the mother of the god Hercules and the 
adopted mother of Romulus, the founder of Rome. 
She was celebrated in the Larentalia festival on 23 
December, which was also a feast of the dead. 



Adibuddha 3 



Acchupta (untouched) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [India] . One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Acolmiztli (shoulder-lion) 
Alinor chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classi- 
cal Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the deities 
collectively classed as the MiCTLANTECUHTLl 
complex. 

Acolnahuacatl 

Alinor chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the deities 
collectively classed as the MiCTLANTECUHTLl 
complex. 

ADAD (wind) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). 

Weather god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1900 BC or 

earlier to circa 200 BC. 
SYNONYMS Ramman (thunder); ISKUR (Siimerian). 
CENTEr(s) OF CULT Karakara and at Aleppo and 

Mari [Syria]. 
ART REFERENCES reliefs, stelac, glyptics, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Cuneiform texts including 

Atrahasis, inscriptions. 

Adad is derived from the older (Sumerian) 
model of Iskur. At Mari [Syria] he enjoyed a 
major cult following. Occasionally the subject 
of a sacred marriage ceremony in parts of 
Mesopotamia and Syria. His father is the 
supreme sky god Anu. He is described as a 
benevolent giver of life in the fields but is also a 
more violent storm god. His name in Akkadian 
cuneiform means "wind." His animal is the bull. 
In human form he is depicted wearing horned 
headdress and tiered skirt or robe decorated with 



astral symbolism. He may carry a scimitar 
embellished with a single panther head and his 
symbol is the lightning fork often fixed upon a 
pair of pincers. 
See also Hadad [Syrian] . 

Adatnas 

Primordial creator being. Gnostic Christian 
(Nassene). Recognized locally in Phrygia [north- 
western Turkey] as an androgynous force in the 
cosmos. 

Adeona 

Goddess of passage. Roman. See Abeona. 
Adhimukticarya 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of 
twelve deified Bhumis recognized as different 
spiritual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: red. Attributes: red lotus and staff. 

Adhimiikdvasita (control of confidence) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
twelve Vasitas or goddesses personifying the dis- 
ciplines of spiritual regeneration. Color: white. 
Attribute: flower bud. 

Adibuddha (the primeval buddha) 
The original BuDDHA. Buddhist. The primordial 
force in the cosmos from whom the five 
Dhyanibuddhas arose. The embodiment of the 
concept of emptiness. He is considered by some 
authorities to be identical with Vaharaja and 
Vajrasattva. His image, sitting on a lotus leaf, is 
often carried by other Buddhist deities. Epithets 
include Svabhava (self-creating), Svayambhu 
(self-enlightened). 



4 Adidharma 



Adidharma (the primeval law) 
Primordial goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Particularly worshiped in Lamaism, she is the 
Sakti of Adibuddha. Attributes: cup and knife. 

Adikia 

Goddess of injustice. Greek. An ugly figure who 
is depicted on the Kypselos Chest being throttled 
by the goddess of justice Dike. 

Adimurti (the primeval personification) 
Form or avatara of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic 
and Puranic). Probably very similar to Narayana. 
Conventionally perceived as Visnu seated on the 
coils of the serpent Sesa (Adisesa) and attended 
by two wives. Attributes: those of Visnu. Also Vai- 
kunthanatha, Paramapathanatha. 

Aditi (the free one) 

Archaic mother goddess. Hindu (Vedic). Accord- 
ing to the Rg Veda Aditi is said to be the wife of 
Kasyapa or of Brahma and mother of the 
Adityas, a group of minor gods including MiTRA, 
Aryaman, Bhaga, Varuna, Daksa and Anisa. No 
other consort is mentioned in the literature. She is 
also accounted as the mother of Hari. Other leg- 
ends account her as the mother of the rain god 
Indra. No human physical features are drawn, 
though she is sometimes identified in the guise of 
a cow. Aditi is also perceived as a guardian goddess 
who brings prosperity and who can free her devo- 
tees from problems and clear away obstacles. She 
disappears largely from later Hindu traditions. 

Aditya (descendant of Aditi) 
Collective name for sun gods. Hindu (Vedic and 
Puranic). These numbered six in Vedic times but 
later increased to twelve. The sons of the pri- 



mordial goddess Aditi. Also an epithet for Surya. 
Attributes: two or more lotuses. 

ADONIS (lord) 

ORIGIN Hellenic name adopted predominantly 
in Phoenician and Syrian culture and based on 
an old western Semitic deity [Lebanon and 
Syria]. FertiUty and vegetation god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 200 BC (Seleu- 
cid period) to circa ad 400. 

SYNONYMS Adon (lord, Semitic). 

CENTER(s) of cult mainly at Berytus and Aphaca. 

art references sculptures, plaques, votive ste- 
lae, glyptics, etc. 

literary sources various literary texts (few 
inscriptions). 

Adonis is modeled on the Mesopotamian dying 
vegetation god DUMUZi (Hebrew: Tammuz). He 
appears as a youthful deity. The river Adonis 
[Nahr Ibrahim] is sacred to him largely because its 
waters flow red after heavy winter rains, having 
become saturated with ferrous oxide. In Hellenic 
tradition he is the son of the mythical Cyprian 
king Cinyras and his mother is Myrrha. Accord- 
ing to Hesiod he is also the son of Phoenix and 
Alphesiboea. He is the consort of Aphrodite. 
Tradition has it that he was killed by a boar dur- 
ing a hunting expedition and is condemned to the 
imderworld for six months of each year, during 
which the earth's vegetation parches and dies 
under the summer sun and drought. He was hon- 
ored in a spring festival when priests in effeminate 
costume gashed themselves with knives. Fre- 
quently depicted nude and sometimes carrying a 
lyre. Also Attis (Phrygian); Atunis (Etruscan). 

Adrastea 

Mountain goddess. Hellenized Phrygian [north- 
western Turkey] . Probably derived from a local 



AENGUS 5 



Anatolian mountain deity. Known from inscrip- 
tions in Greece from circa 400 BC as a deity who 
defends the righteous. It is uncertain whether she 
bears any link with the Celtic goddess Andrasta. 

Adro 

Tutelary god. Lugbara [Lake Albert, East Africa]. 
The personification of grass fires and whirlwinds 
who, in antiquity, created mankind. Thought to 
hve in the vicinity of rivers with many wives and 
children. 

Aeacos 

Chthonic underworld god. Greco-Roman. One 
of three judges of Hades assessing the souls of 
the dead entering the underworld (see also MiNOS 
and Rhadamanthos). Identified by Plato as the 
son of Zeus and Aigina. In the Theogony (Hesiod), 
Aeacos is also the consort of Psamathe and father 
of Phocos. Also Aiakos. 

Aed 

Chthonic underworld god. Celtic (Irish). Known 
from inscriptions. Aed mac Lir, son of LiR and 

Aobh was, according to tradition, turned into a 
swan by his stepmother, Aoife. 

AEGIR (water) 

ORIGIN Icelandic (Nordic). God of the ocean. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period (circa 

AD 700) but probably earlier, through to Chris- 

tianization (circa AD 1 100). 
SYNONYMS none known. 

CENTER(s) of cult none known but probably 
enjoyed sanctuaries along the west coast of 
Norway and elsewhere in Nordic region. 

ART REFERENCES runic inscriptions; reliefs in 
metal and stone. 



LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo). 

A lesser known Aesir god of Asgard concerned 
with the moods of the sea and their implications 

for mariners. The river Eider was known to the 
Vikings as "Aegir's Door." Aegir is also depicted 
in some poetry as the "ale brewer," perhaps an 
allusion to the caldrons of mead which were 
thought to come from \mder the sea (see also the 
Celtic deities Dagda and Gobniu). There are 
references in literature to Saxons sacrificing 
captives, probably to Aegir, before setting sail 
for home. Linked in uncertain manner to the 
goddess Ran he was believed to have sired nine 
children, the waves of the sea, who were possi- 
bly giantesses. 

AENGUS 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Of uncertain status. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC or 

earlier until Christianization circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Mac Oc; Aengus Oc. 
CENTER(s) OF CULT Brugh na Boinne (Valley of 

the Boyne). 

ART REFERENCES various monumental carvings 

and inscriptions. 
LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 

Kings. 

The son of the Dagda by "the wife of Elcmar" 
(one of the kings of Tara) who may have been 
the goddess BOANN, Aengus lived in the Valley 
of the Boyne and was closely linked with the 
ancient funerary tumuh in the region. According 
to legend, Aengus fell in love with a maiden 
whose identity he sought in vain. As he wasted 
away, his father and mother made enquiries 
until they located Caer, daughter of the king of 
Cannaught, who lived on Loch Bel Dragon in 
the shape of a swan with 150 attendant swans. 



6 Aeolos 



Aengus eventually found her and he also 
changed into a bird. 

Aeolos 

God of storms and winds. Greek. One of the sons 
of Poseidon, said to have presented the winds in 
a leather bag to the hero Odysseus, and to have 
given the sail to seafarers. According to legend his 
home was the Aeolian Island [Lipari Island]. In 
one legend he is married to Eos and is the father 
of six sons, the various directional winds. The 
hexagonal Temple of Winds, on each side of which 
is depicted a flying figure of one of the winds, and 
which is dedicated to Aeolos, still stands at Athens. 

Aeolus 

God of storms and winds. Roman. Derived 
from the Greek storm god Aeolos, he is the 
consort of Aurora and the father of six sons, 
Boreas the north wind, CoRUS the northwest 
wind, Aquilo the west wind, NOTUS the south- 
west wind, Eurus the east wind and Zephyrus 
the south wind. 

Aequitas 

Minor god. Roman. Spirit of fair dealing, known 
particularly from the second century BC. 

Aericura 

Chthonic underworld god. Romano-Celtic. 
Known only from inscriptions. 

Aesculapius 

God of healing. Roman. Developed from the 
Greek deity ASKLEPIOS and introduced into 
Rome in 293 BC as a plague god. Attributes 
include the caduceus (winged scepter), the symbol 
of modern medicine. 



AESm 

ORIGIN Icelandic (Nordic). The major race of 

sky gods in Norse religion. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period (circa 

AD 700) but developed earlier, until Christian- 

ization (circa AD 1 100) and in some instances 

beyond. 
SYNONYMS none known. 

center(s) of cult throughout areas of Nordic 
influence, particularly at Uppsala in Sweden. 

ART REFERENCES engraving on stone and wea- 
pons; other art objects etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); various classi- 
cal authors. 

The twelve Aesir gods are headed by Othin, the 
All-Eather (see also the Koryak Siberian deity 
Quikinn.a'qu) and probably are, in part, derived 
from a Germanic pantheon established in prehis- 
tory. The Aesir follow a common pattern whereby 
cultures estabUsh a "senior" pantheon of great gods 
which usually number seven or twelve. Some of 
these are creator gods but do not necessarily 
include the archetypal founders of the cosmos. In 
mythology the Aesir exist in a realm known as 
Asgard, one of a number of heavens perceived in 
Nordic and Germanic lore. The gods live in great 
halls. Othin occupies Valaskjalf, roofed with silver, 
and in a separate building, Valhall, he assembles 
slain mortal heroes. These warriors will one day 
serve to defend Asgard in the final onslaught 
against the estabUshed order by the frost giants 
and other adversaries. The Aesir fought a primal 
battle with a rival group of gods, the Vamr. Their 
constant enemies, though, are the Erost Giants, 
the Midgard Serpent, a huge sea snake encircling 
the Nordic lands, and Eenrir, the great wolf who 
will catch and swallow the sun at the day of doom, 
Ragnarok. At that time it is foretold that the gods 
of Asgard will perish, and earth will be consumed 
by fire, finally to be cleansed by the rising waters 
of the sea before being born anew. 



Ah Bolon Dz'acab 7 



Aether 

Primordial god of light. Greco-Roman. A 
remote cosmic deity, the son of Erebos 
(darkness) and Nyx (night) who overthrew 
these archetypal deities of chaos. In Hesiod's 
Epic Cycle he is also described as the father of 
OURANOS. 

Agathos Daimon (good demon) 
God of fortune. Greco-Roman. Known locally 
from Alexandria and depicted in the form of a 
snake. May have originated as an androgynous 
fertility spirit, but later becomes identified as 
the consort of Agathe Tyche (see Tyche). Liba- 
tions were made regularly to this deity after 
meals and he was regarded as a friendly house- 
hold guardian. 

Age 

God of animals. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. 
Revered by hunters in the savaimah regions. 

Aglibol 

Moon god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Known from Palmyra and linked with the sun 
god Yarhibol. The cult continued into Hellenic 
times and was later extended to Rome. Attributes 
include a sickle moon. 

AGNI (fire) 

ORIGIN Hindu [India]. God of fire. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1500 BC 

onward and still recognized. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult known throughout areas of 

Hindu influence. 
art references sculptures and reliefs in metal 

and stone. 

LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda and other texts. 



God of the sacrificial fire and the intercessor 
between gods and mankind, Agni is the son of 
Kasyapa and Aditi or, alternatively, of Dyaus 
and Prthivi. His consort is Svaha and, accord- 
ing to some texts, he is the father of the god 
Skanda. In a destructive capacity he is seen as an 
aspect of the god SiVA. He is also a guardian or 
dikpala of the southeastern quarter. In ancient 
hymns he is said to have been born in wood as 
the embryo life force of all trees and plants and 
he emerges when wood is rubbed together. 
Vehicles: a she-goat, or a chariot drawn by red 
horses or parrots. Color: red. 

Attributes: seven arms and sometimes the head 
of a goat, carrying a wide variety of objects. 

Agnikumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 
general title of Bhavanavasi (dwelUng in places). 
They have a youthful appearance and are associ- 
ated with rain and thunder. 

Agnostos Theos 

The unknown god(s) usually addressed in the plu- 
ral form. Greco-Roman. They were the subject of 
altar inscriptions, particularly in Athens, probably 
out of concern lest certain less popular deities be 
neglected or forgotten. 

Agu'gux 

Creator god. Aleut [Aleutian Islands]. The name 
given to the Christian god under Russian Ortho- 
dox influence. 

Ah Bolon Dz'acab (many generations) 
Chthonic fertility god. Mayan (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico]. A god identified with rain 

and thimder. Also strongly linked with agriculture 
and young crops. Possibly a vegetation avatara of 



8 Ah Cancun 



the iguana god ITZAM Na. Attributes include a 
leaf-like ornament worn in the nose. Also God K. 

Ah Cancun 

Hunting god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of a number of deities in Mayan 
religion identified with the hunt and the protec- 
tion of animals. Also Acanum. 

Ah Chun Caan (he of the base of the sky) 
Local god. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. The tutelary deity of the city of 
Merida. Mentioned in the Vienna Dictionary. 

Ah CiUz 

God of solar eclipses. Mayan (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico]. He is said to eat the sun dur- 
ing an eclipse, but at other times attends upon the 
Sim god, serving him meals. 

Ah Cuxtal (come to life) 
God of birth. Mayan (Lacandon, classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico]. Responsible for the safe 
delivery of women. 

Ah Hulneb (he of the spear thrower) 

God of war. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. The local guardian deity of the city of 

Cozumel. 

Ah Kin (he of the sun) 

Sun god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico] . A deity of ambivalent personahty, the young 
suitor of the moon goddess Acna, also the aged 
sun god in the sky. He is feared as the bringer of 
drought, but also protects mankind from the 



powers of evil associated with darkness. Said to be 
carried through the underworld at night on the 
shoulders of the god Sucunyum. Ah Kin is prayed 
to at sunrise and rituals include the burning of 
incense. He is invoked to cure illness and to bring 
wives to bachelors. Attributes include a square 
third eye subtended by a loop, a strong Roman 
nose, a squint and incisor teeth filed to a T-shape. 
Also Acan Chob (Lacandon); Chi Chac Chob; 
Kinich Ahau; God G. 

Ah Kin Xoc 

God of poetry. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Regarded as a great singer and 
musician since most Mayan poetry is sung or 
chanted. He may appear as a hummingbird and 
is considered by some authorities to be an 
avatara of the sun god. Also Ah Kin Xocbiltun; 
P'izlimtec. 

Ah Kumix Uinicob 

Attendant water gods. Mayan (Yucatec, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The four diminutive 
deities which take over from the giant Ah Patnar 
Uinicob deities during the dry season. 

AhMun 

Maize god. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. The deity responsible for pro- 
tecting the unripe maize. 

Ah Muzencab 

Bee gods. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. The patron deities of apiarists still 
invoked in parts of the Yucatan. They are thought 
to be represented iconographically on the tops 
and bottoms of stone columns at the site of 
Chichen Itza as aged men with long beards and 



AHURA MAZDA 9 



upraised arms. They wear loin cloths with dis- 
tinctive cross-hatching. 

Ah Patnar Uinicob (owners of the jars men) 
Attendant water gods. Mayan (Yucatec, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Four huge deities who 
pour water on to the earth from jars. The end of 
the dry season is marked on May 3, completing an 
eight-day rain ceremony. 

AhPeku 

Thunder god. Mayan (Lacandon, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. He lives on the tops of 
hills and climbs into the clouds before it rains. 

Ah Tabai 

Hunting god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of a number of deities in Mayan 
religion identified with the hunt and the protec- 
tion of animals. 

Ah Uincir Dz'acab 

God of healing. Mayan (Chorti, classical Meso- 
american) [eastern Guatemala]. The patron of 
herbalists and concerned with the preparation of 
remedies, he is depicted as having male and 
female identities, each concerned with the healing 
of their respective sexes. Also Ah Uincir Kopot. 

Ah Uuc Ticab 

Chthonic god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Minor fertility and vegetation deity. 

Aha (grandmother) 

River spirit. Yakut [central Siberia]. The guardian 
and apotheosis of rivers. 



Ahriman 

Chthonic god of darkness. Zoroastrian (Farsi-Per- 
sian). The antagonist of Ahura Mazda, god of 
light, and his attendant, MiTHRA. The name is a 
modern derivation of the original Avestan title 
Angru Mainyu. Ahriman is said to have tried to 
persuade his attendant animals, including the scor- 
pion, ant and snake, to drink the blood of the bull 
slain by Mithra in the primeval legend of dualistic 
conflict (see Mithra); if he had succeeded he wovild 
have prevented life from forming on earth. In 
another legend he tried to thwart Ahura Mazda by 
sending a flood to destroy the world. Also recog- 
nized in Roman Alithraism. Rituals included ani- 
mal sacrifice. Also Arimanius (Roman). 

AHURA MAZDA 

ORIGIN Persian [Iran]. God of light. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1500 BC to 

end of Roman Empire period, circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult throughout ancient Near East 

during Persian and Roman Empire periods. 
ART references various sculptures and rehefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Avestia. 

Ahura Mazda probably originates as the Hindu 
Vedic god Varuna. In Persian religion he 
becomes the god of Ught and truth in the Zoroas- 
trian concept of dualism. His chief attendant god 
is Mithra(s) and his adversary is Ahriman, the 
god of darkness. According to tradition his first 
creation, a wild bull, was confined to a cave by 
Mithras. When it escaped, Mithras was charged 
with finding and slaying it. The bull's blood fell to 
earth and from the drops life formed. Ahura 
Mazda is not mentioned in Roman Mithraic 
inscriptions but he is, by implication, the central 
figure in Mithraism. In the Mithraeum in Rome 
(S. Prisca), Ahura Mazda is considered to be a 
recUning figure on whom Mithras attends. 



I O Ahurani 



Although never popular among the civilian pop- 
ulation, Mithraism spread under Flavius and was 
widespread among the Roman military, though it 
always enjoyed a greater following in the east than 
in the west. It was one symptom of the more gen- 
eral Roman return to sun worship. In AD 307, a 
sanctuary on the Danube was dedicated to 
Mithras (and Ahura Mazda) in an effort to sustain 
military power in the empire. 

Ahurani (mistress of Ahura) 
Fertility goddess. Zoroastrian (Persian). Invoked 
by ordinary people to bring prosperity and chil- 
dren. Water Ubations were a key part of the ritual. 

Ai Apaec 

Supreme god. Mochica Indian (pre-Columbian 
South America) [northern coast of Peru]. Probably 
originated as a jaguar god but came to rule the des- 
tinies of the world. He was thought to live like ordi- 
nary people and could reveal himself as man or god 
at will. He is depicted in anthropomorphic form, 
but with huge fangs and a cat-like wrinkled face 
with whiskers coming from his nose. He received 
sacrificial victims hurled fi-om the top of a high diff. 

Aides See hades. 

Aine 

Obscure sky or sun goddess. Celtic (Irish). May 
have an association with horses. 

Aj alamo 

God of unborn children. Yoruba [Nigeria, West 
Africa]. According to legend, in some vague 
mythological realm there exist rows of shelves 
with spirits of the mborn. These are the respon- 
sibiHty of Ajalamo. 



Ajaya (invincible) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 



Aje 

Goddess of wealth. Yoruba [Nigeria, West 
Africa]. She is thought to appear as a fowl scratch- 
ing the earth and, in creation mythology, was sent 
down with Oduduwa, the earth goddess. 

Aji- Shiki-Taka-Hiko-Ne 

Rain god. Shinto [Japan]. One of the Raijin 
deities whose name is often linked with that of 
Kamo-Waka-Ikazuchi. 

Ajysyt 

Maternal spirit. Yakut [central Siberia]. The 
deity who oversees the lying-in of an expectant 
mother and who brings the child's soul to the 
child-bed. The term ajysyt can also apply to a 

male spirit, thus the ajysyt that oversees the birth 
of horses is male, while that of horned cattle is 
female. 

Akasagarbha (essence of the sky) 
Astral god. Buddhist (Mahayana) and Lamaist 
[Tibet]. One of the bodhisattv^s or spiritual 
meditation buddhas. He Hves in the "womb of 
the sky." Color: green. Attributes: book, jewel, 
lotus and sun disc. Also Khagarbha. In Japanese 
Buddhism this deity becomes the god Kokuzo. 

Akelos 

River god. Greek. The son of Okeanos and 
Tethys. According to mythology he was a rival 
suitor for Deianeira who became the wife of Her- 

AKLES. He was the consort of Melpomene and his 
daughters were allegedly the sirenes. A river of the 



Ala I I 



same name rans into the Ionian Sea. Attributes 
include bull horns. Also Achlae (Etrurian). 

Aken 

Chthonic imderworld god. Egyptian. The keeper 
of the underworld ferry boat. 

Aker 

Chthonic earth god of passage. Egyptian. Known 
from the Old Kingdom (circa 2700 BC onward). 
Controls the interface between eastern and west- 
ern horizons of the underworld, and is the 
guardian of the gate through which the king 
passes into the underworld. Aker provides a safe 
course for the barque of the stm god during its 
passage through the underworld at night. He may 
be seen as the socket holding the boat's mast. He 
is also considered benevolent against snake bites. 
Represented by opposite facing pairs of human or 
Hon heads. 

Akeru 

PluraUstic chthonic earth gods. Egyptian. Prob- 
ably stemming from the pre-Dynastic period. 
Malevolent deities who can seize and imprison 
the souls of the deceased. 

Akonadi 

Oracular goddess. Ghanaian [West Africa]. Known 
in the region around Accra where she has had a 
celebrated oracular shrine. She is regarded as a 
goddess of justice and a guardian deity of women. 

Akongo 

Creator god. Ngombe [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. The supreme deity con- 
sidered to have given the world, and all that is in 
it, form and substance. 



Aksayajnana-Karmanda (undecaying 

knowledge of Karma) 
Deification of literature. Buddhist. One of a 
group of twelve Dharanis. Color: red. Attrib- 
utes: basket with jewels, and staff. 

AKSOBHYA (imperturbable) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. The second dhyani- 
buddha or meditation buddha. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC tO 

present. 

SYNONYMS Vajrasana; Vajraheruka. 
center(s) of cult pan-Asiatic. 
ART references metal and stone sculptures, 
paintings. 

literary sources Sadhanamala and Tantric rit- 
ual texts. 

One of five mystic spiritual counterparts of a 
human buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. A product 
of the AdibuDDHA who represents the branch of 
the cosmos concerned with consciousness. He 

originates from the blue mantra HUM and lives in 
the eastern paradise Abhirati. His Sakti is Locana 
and he is normally accompanied by two elephants. 
Color: blue. Attributes include bell, three monk- 
ish robes and staff, also jewel, lotus, prayer wheel 
and sword. Aksobhya may also be a totelary deity 
in Lamaism [Tibet] in which case his attributes are 
similar. Emanations include Heruka, Manjusri, 
Vajrapani and a large number of minor names. 

See also Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Rat- 
nasambhava and Vairocana. 

Ala 

Chthonic fertility goddess. Ibo [eastern Nigeria, 
West Africa] . A popular deity who is also goddess 
of the underworld linked vnth a cult of the dead 
(which rest in her womb). Her temple is the Mbari 

which contains a cult statue depicting the goddess 
seated with a child in her arms and adorned with 



1 2 Alad Udug Lama 



the crescent moon. She is flanked by attendant 
deities. She enjoys a profusion of local shrines 
which are well suppHed with votive offerings. Seri- 
ous crimes including murder are considered to be 
offenses against her. An annual yam festival is cel- 
ebrated in her honor. Also Ale, Ana, Ani. 

Alad Udug Lama 

Collective name of guardian deities. Mesopo- 
tamian (Sumerian and Babylonian- Akkadian). 
Vague spirits who accompany major deities and 
dispense good fortune. 

Alaisiagae 

Minor goddesses. Romano-Celtic (British). They 
are identified at Houseteads (Northumberland) in 
a shrine to Mars Thincsus. 

Alalu 

Primordial god. Hittite and Hurrian. The arche- 
typal deity who precedes An(u) in the formation 
of the cosmos. He was identified by the Greeks as 
Hypsistos (the highest). 

Alatangana 

Creator god. Kono [eastern Guinea, West Africa] . 

One of two creator deities; the other is Sa. Ala- 
TANGANA created land from swamp and placed 
vegetation on earth. 

Vajrapani and a large number of minor names. 

See also Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasam- 
BHAVA and Vairocana. 

Alaunus 

Local god. Romano-Celtic (Continental Euro- 
pean). Known fi-om areas around Mannheim and 
Salzburg. The Romans syncretized him with 

Mercurius. 



Alcis 

Unknown status. Germanic and possibly Ice- 
landic (Nordic). The Alcis are twin deities 
(brothers) known only as sons of the sky gods. 
From Germanic times we have a La Tene urn 

with pictures of paired men on horseback and 
linked by a wooden beam. Tacitus describes the 
worship of twin gods by the Naharvali tribe, their 
priests dressed in effeminate costume (see also 
the Phrygian deity Attis). They may have been 
worshiped in forest sanctuaries along the north- 
ern coast of Europe. 

Alemona 

Goddess of passage. Roman. Concerned with the 
health of the unborn child. 

Alisanos 

Local chthonic earth god. Romano-Celtic (Gal- 
Uc). Known only from inscription in the region of 
the Cote d'Or and associated with the land. Also 
AUsonus, AUsanus. 

Alk'unta'm 

S\m god. Bella Coola Indian [British Columbia, 
Canada]. Linked closely with Senx, both are of 
equal significance. His mother is a cannibal 
woman, Nunuso' mikeeqone'im, who can turn 
into a mosquito. 

ALLAH 

ORIGIN Nabataean and Arabic. Derived from the 

western Semitic god II. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 300 EC until 

present. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult Mecca [Saudi Arabia]. 

ART REFERENCES none. 

literary sources Qur'an. 



AMATERASU-O-MI-KAMI 13 



The creator god of Islam. Perceived in pre- 

Islamic times as the creator of the earth and water. 
Named by the prophet Muhammad as the one 
true god and given a hundred names or epithets 
in the Qur'an, ninety-nine of which are known to 
mankind and accounted on the rosar}^ beads; the 
final name remains a mystery. No representation 
of Allah is made in art. 

Allat (goddess) 

Astral and tutelary goddess. Pre-Islamic northern 

and central Arabian. One of the three daughters 
of Allah. At Palmyra she was regularly invoked 
as a domestic guardian either as Allat or AsTARTE 
with whom she is closely linked. At Ta'if she was 
symbolized in the form of a white granite stone. 
In Hellenic times she became syncretized with 
Athena or, according to Herodotus who called 
her Ahlat, with Aphrodite. 
See also Atarsamain. 

Allatu(m) 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Western Semitic. 
Modeled on the Mesopotamian goddess Eres- 
KIGAL and possibly also equating with Arsay in 
Canaanite mythology. Recognized by the 
Carthaginians as Allatu. 

Almaqah 

Tutelary astral god. Pre-Islamic southern Ara- 
bian. Worshiped by the Saba tribe, his sacred ani- 
mal is the bull. Attributes include lightning bolts 
and a sinuate weapon. 

Alpanu 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Etruscan. 
Depicted wearing jewels, a loose cloak and san- 
dals but otherwise naked. Also arguably a goddess 
of sexual love. 



Ama-arhus 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Mentioned in texts as being among 
the pantheon at Uruk in Hellenistic times but 
also found as an earlier manifestation of the god 
GULA. Also Arad-Ama-arhus, Amat-Ama-arhus. 

Amaethon 

God of agriculture. Celtic (Welsh). A son of Don 
and brother of GWYDION, he is known from a 
Umited number of Welsh texts and was engaged 
in a mythical battle against the Arawn. Associ- 
ated with ploughing and husbandry. The modern 
Welsh name for a farmer is amaethwr. 

Amasagnul 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Mentioned in prebend documents 
from the Hellenistic period at Uruk and thought 
to be the consort of the god Papsukkal. 

AMATERASU-O-MI-KAMI 

ORIGIN Shinto Uapan]. Sun goddess. 

KNOWN period OF WORSHIP circa AD 600 or ear- 
lier until present. 

SYNONYMS Shinmei; O-Hiru-Me-No-Muchi; 
Tensho-Ko-Daijin. 

center(s) of cult Ise Naiku shrine; many oth- 
ers throughout Japan. 

ART references sculptures and paintings, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Nihofigi; Kojiki Japanese 
sacred texts). 

The central figure of Shintoism and the ancestral 
deity of the imperial house. One of the daughters 
of the primordial god IZANAGI and said to be his 
favorite offspring, she was born from his left eye. 
She is the sibling of SUSANO-Wo, the storm god. 

According to mythology she and Susano-Wo 
are obliged to join each other in order to survive. 



I 4 Ama-Tsu-Mara 



Susano-Wo ascends with her to heaven but is 
thrown out after trying to enter her house and 
committing various excesses. Amaterasu reftises 
to be sullied and obstinately hides herself away in 
a cave. It requires the combined diplomacy and 
craft of many other deities to persuade her to 
come out. The lure is the "perfect divine mirror" 
in which she sees her reflection. The birth of the 
two deities is considered to mark the transition 
between cosmic and material genesis. 

The Ise Naikxi sanctoary is visited by about five 
milhon devotees each year and Amaterasu takes 
pride of place in every family shrine. Sometimes 
her shrines are placed adjacent to those of 
Susano-Wo. She is also the tutelary goddess of 
the emperor. I lers tends to be a monotheistic cult 
in which all other deities take a subservient place. 
Though powerful she does not always succeed 
and is often subject to attack. She has been 
arguably identified with the god VAlROCANA in 
Buddhist religion. 

Ama-Tsu-Mara 

God of smiths. Shinto [Japan]. Depicted as a 
one-eyed ithyphallic god comparable to the 

Greek Cyclopes. He is strongly instrumental in 
fashioning the "perfect divine mirror" with which 
the sun goddess, Amaterasu, is lured from her 
cave. Also Ma-Hiko-Tsu-No-Kami. 

Amaunet (the hidden one) 
Fertility goddess. Egyptian (Upper). Amaunet 
seems to have a taken a role as an early consort of 
Amun, one of the eight deities of the Ogdoad and 
representing hidden power. In that context she is 
depicted anthropomorphically but with the head 
of a snake. She is shown in reUefs and as the sub- 
ject of a notable statue from the Record Hall of 
luthmosis ILL at the Karnak complex of Thebes, 
where she was recognized as a benign protective 



deity especially called on at times of royal acces- 
sion. As a fertihty goddess she was largely ecUpsed 
by the goddess MUT. She is sometimes equated 
with Neith, the creator goddess of Sais, and her 
attributes may include the red crown of the Delta. 

Ame-No-Kagase-Wo 

Astral deity. Shinto [Japan]. The most important 
of the star KAMI said to have been executed by the 
god FuTSU-NuSHi because he would not be paci- 
fied during the process of cosmic genesis. 

Ame-No-Mi-Kumari-No-Kami 

Water goddess. Shinto Japan]. One of the daugh- 
ters of Minato-No-Kami, the god of river mouths 
and estuaries, she is known as the "heavenly water 
divider" and her cult is linked with that of Kuni- 
No-Mi-Kumari-No-Kami. 

AME-NO-MEVAKA-NUSHI-NO- 
KAMI (the deity master of the august center 
of heaven) 

ORIGIN Shinto [Japan]. Supreme god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 600 until 
present. 

SYNONYMS none significant. 

center(s) OF CULT none. 

ART REFERENCES none. 

LITERARY SOURCES Kojiki (Japanese sacred text). 

The highest deity of the Shinto pantheon and the 
first to emerge in Takama-No-Hara (the plain of 
high heaven) when heaven and earth were fash- 
ioned. He was born alone, resides in the ninth 
heaven and has always hidden himself from mor- 
tal eyes. A remote and vague figure of whom no 
images are ever made and toward whom no cult is 
directed. His name only appears once in the Kojiki 
and never in the Nihongi. Originally his identity 



AMITABHA 15 



may have been strongly influenced by Chinese 
religion. His name is linked closely with those of 
two other lesser primordial beings, Taka-Mi-Mis- 
ubi-No-Kami and Kami-Misubi-No-Kami. 

Ame-No-Tanabata-Hime-No-Mikoto 

Astral goddess of weavers. Shinto [Japan]. One of 
two star apotheoses who are, according to tradi- 
tion, deeply in love with each other. Her partner 
is HiKOBOSHi. Her name is generally abbreviated 
to Tanabata, the title of a festival in honor of the 
goddess which became a national event in Japan 
in AD 75 5 . The festival later became merged with 
the Tibetan Bon Ullumbana festival of the dead. 
Also Shokujo. 

Ame-No-Toko-Tachi-No-Kami (deity 

standing eternally in heaven) 
Primordial being. Shinto [Japan]. The fifth of the 
deities to emerge in the heavens, named in both 
the sacred texts of Shintoism, the Kojiki and 
Nihongi, but probably strongly influenced by Chi- 
nese religion. Born from a reed floating in the 
primeval waters. 

See also UMAsm-Asm-KABi-Hnco-Ji-No-KAMl. 

Ame-No-Uzume 

Goddess of dancers. Shinto [Japan]. She plays a 
part in enticing the sun goddess, Amaterasu, 
from her cave using the perfect divine mirror. 

Ame- Waka-Hiko (heavenly young prince) 
God. Shinto [fapan]. According to tradition he 
was sent to earth on a vital mission but became 
preoccupied with a number of mortal women, 
forgot his purpose and did not report back to 
heaven. His punishment was to be slain by an 
arrow fired from the "heavenly true deer bow." 



Am-Heh 

Chthonic underworld god. Egyptian. A minor 
deity said to inhabit a lake of fire. The so-called 
"devourer of the millions." Depicted with the 
head of a hound. 

Amida 

Primordial deity. Buddhist (Japanese). The Japan- 
ese equivalent of Amitabha recognized from the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries ad. 

Amimitl 

Minor god of lakes and fish hunters. Aztec 
(classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the 
deities collectively classed as the MIXCOATL- 
CAMAXTLI complex. 

AMITABHA (of unmeasured splendor) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. The fourth dhyani- 
buddha or meditation buddha. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC tO 

present. 

SYNONYMS Vajradharma and possibly Amitayaus. 
center(s) of cult pan-Asiatic. 
ART REFERENCES metal and stone sculptures, 
paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamala and Tantric rit- 
ual texts. 

One of five mystic spiritual counterparts of a 
human buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. A product 
of the Adibuddha who represents the branch of 
the cosmos concerned with consciousness. He 
originates from the red mantra HRIH and Uves in 
the western paradise Sukhavati. The cult may 
have been influenced by Iranian hght reUgions. 
His Sakti is Pandara and he is normally accom- 
panied by two peacocks. Color: red. Attributes: 
lock of hair, lotus, monk's robe and water jar. 



16 Aimn 



Amitabha is also taken as a tutelary god in 

Lamaism [Tibet] in which case his attributes 
include bell, jewel and three monkish robes. Ema- 
nations include Padmapani, Manjusri and many 
other minor names. 
See also Aksobhya, Amoghasiddhi, Rat- 

NASAMBHAVA and VAIROCANA. 

Amm 

Moon god. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. The 
tutelary deity of the Qataban tribe. Also revered as 
a weather god. Attributes include Ughtning bolts. 

Amma (1) 

Local tutelary god. Dravidian (Tamil). Known 
from southern India. 

Amma (2) 

Creator god. Dogon [Mali, West Africa]. He 
first created the sun by baking a clay pot until it 

was white hot and coiling a band of copper 
around it eight times. He created the moon in 
similar fashion but used brass. Black people 
were created from sunlight and white from 
moonlight. Later, having circumcised the 
earth goddess, whose clitoris was an anthill, he 
impregnated her and produced the first crea- 
ture, a jackal. Next he fertilized her with rain to 
engender plant Hfe and finally became the father 
of mankind. 

Ammavaru 

Primordial mother goddess. Hindu-Dravidian. 
Known locally from east central India and wor- 
shiped by the Dravidian tribe of Telugu. She is 
said to have generated the cosmic egg in the sea 
of milk from which the major gods Brahma, 
ViSNU and Siva were born. 



Ammut (devouress of the dead) 
Chthonic underworld goddess. Egyptian. A sig- 
nificant deity who allegedly consumes the dead if 
their hearts are found weighed down with guilt in 
the Judgment Hall of the Two Truths during the 
Weighing of the Heart ceremony. Ammut has a 
fearsome aspect and sits alongside forty-two juror 
gods named in the Book of the Dead. Depicted with 
the head of a crocodile, the trunk and fore-limbs 
of a lion and the hind part of a hippopotamus. 
See also Thoth and Maat. 



Amoghapasa 

God. Buddhist. A variety of AVALOKITESVARA, 
depicted with one head and six, eight or twenty 
hands. Attributes: arrow, bell, lotus, noose, prayer 
wheel, rosary, staff and tiger skin. 

AMOGHASIDDHI (unfailing power) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. The fifth dhyanihuddha 
or meditation buddha. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC tO 

present. 
SYNONYMS Kharmaheruka. 
center(s) of cult pan-Asiatic. 
ART REFERENCES metal and stone sculptures, 

paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamala and Tantric 
ritual texts. 

One of five mystic spiritual counterparts of a 
human buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. A product 
of the Adibuddha who represents the branch of 
the cosmos concerned with consciousness. He 
originates from the green mantra HUM and lives 
in the northern paradise. His Sakti is Arya-Tara 
and he is normally accompanied by two Garudas 
or dwarfs. Color: green. Attributes: staff and 
sometimes seven-headed snake. Amoghasiddhi is 
also taken as a tutelary deity in Lamaism [Tibet] 



AMUN 17 



in which case his attributes include bell, three 
monkish robes and prayer wheel. Emanations 
include Visvapani and many other minor names. 

See also Aksobhya, Amitabha, Ratnasamb- 
HAVA and Vairocana. 

Amor 

God of love. Roman. Developed from the Greek 
god Eros. Depicted as a winged youth. According 
to tradition he awoke the goddess Psyche with a 
kiss. Attributes include arrows, bow and torch. The 
popular epithet Cupid was only appUed by poets. 

Amphion 

God. Greek. Theban variant on the god POLY- 

DEUKES. 

Amphitrite 

Sea goddess. Greek. According to Theogony (Hes- 
iod), one of the fifty daughters of Nereus and 
Doris. Considered to calm stormy seas, traveling 
in a boat made of mussels. She was among those 
present at the birth of APOLLO. 

AMUN (the hidden one) 

ORIGIN Egypt. Supreme creator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP probably pre- 

Dynastic but historically circa 2400 BC to end of 

Egyptian period (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Amun kem-atef (snake god); Amun 

kamutef (fertihty god). 
center(s) of cult Thebes (Luxor) — Great 

Temple of Amun at Karnak; Luxor Temple 

south of Karnak dedicated to the ithyphallic 

form of Amun kamutef. 
ART REFERENCES many portraits on temple walls, 

etc; reUefs; statues; obeUsks including notably 

that of Queen Hatshepsut; stelae. 



LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts from the end 

of Dynasty V (2494-2345 BC); temple hymns; 
the Book of the Dead; the Great Harris Papyrus; 
many other textual references. 

Amun is a sun god, lord of the sky and king of the 
Egyptian world. He is perceived as a primeval 
deity present in chaos at the creation of the cos- 
mos and is therefore also one of the eight deities 
of the Ogdoad coupled with the goddess 
Amaunet and representing hidden power. He is 
portrayed as a pharaoh, with blue skin and wear- 
ing a modius (turban) surmounted by two tall 
plumes of feathers symbolic of dominance over 
both Upper and Lower Egj^t. In addition to the 
major temples at Luxor, further sanctuaries were 
built beyond the first Nile cataract at Amada, 
Soleb, Gebel Barkal and Abu Simbel. 

Amun is symbolized chiefly by a ram with 
curved horns. The Nile goose is also sacred to 
him. He is a god regarded as hidden but spread- 
ing throughout the cosmos, unseen but every- 
where. Though depicted anthropomorphically, in 
temple hymns other deities describe him as "hid- 
den of aspect, mysterious of form." In the New 
Kingdom, from the middle of the sixteenth cen- 
tury BC onward, Amun was drawn as a manifesta- 
tion of the ancient stm god of Heliopolis, which 
effectively raised his prestige still further and 
earned him the title "king of the gods." He was 
also regarded as being the father of each pharaoh. 
At Thebes he was revered as a snake deity with 
attendant connotations of immortaUty and end- 
less renewal. As a member of the Ogdoad he has 
the head of a snake. 

Amun's ithyphallic form probably came from 
the notion that because he was "first formed" of 
the gods, he could not have a father and therefore 
had to impregnate his own mother. He is gener- 
ally regarded as a god with great sexual attributes. 
The Temple of Queen Hatsepsut at Deir el- 
Bahari bears a relief of her mother impregnated 



I 8 Amurru 



by Amun. A similar scene exists in the Temple of 
Amenhotep III at Luxor. The Great Hall of 
Hypostyle is filled with wall paintings of Amun 
and the pharaoh, and contains several proces- 
sions honoring Amun. By the twelfth century BC 
the Amun priesthood was a powerful force in 
Egypt, leading to the eventual contest between 
Amun and Aten, the god "created" by Amen- 
hotep IV Amun's eclipse was short-Hved and he 
returned to prominence until the end of Egypt- 
ian history. 

Amurru 

Mountain god. Western Semitic. A minor consort 
of Athirat whose attributes include a shepherd's 
crook and who was probably worshiped by 
herders. Known mainly from inscriptions. Also 
Martu. 

AN (1) (sky) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. 

Supreme creator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3500 BC tO 

2000 BC but continuing as Babylonian creator 
god (see Anu) until 100 Bc: or later. 

SYNONYMS Anu (Akkadian). 

center(s) of cult Unug [modern Warka] . 

ART REFERENCES none known but probably rep- 
resented symbolically on seals and seal impres- 
sions from third millennium onward. 

LITERARY SOURCES Cuneiform texts including 
Sumerian creation accounts, and the Babylon- 
ian epic Enuma Elis. 

In Sumerian creation mythology An is the 
supreme being and, with his chthonic female 
principle, Kl, is the founder of the cosmos. Also, 
in some texts, identified as the son of Ansar and 
KiSAR. The head of the older generation of gods. 
He is believed to have formed the basis for the 



calendar and is arguably first represented in 

bovine form having been derived from the old 
herders' pantheon. He is identified in some texts 
as the "bull of heaven." According to legends, 
heaven and earth were once inseparable until An 
and Ki bore a son, Enlil, god of the air, who 
cleaved heaven and earth in two. An carried away 
heaven. Ki, in company with EnlU, took the earth. 
An is also paired with the goddess Nammu by 
whom he fathered Enki. Patron god of Unug 
(Erech in the Vetus Testamentum), An is always a 
remote shadowy figure who occasionally lends a 
hand to tilt the balance of fate but otherwise tends 
to be out of touch with the day-to-day affairs of 
heaven and earth. 

His main sanctuary is the Eanna temple. After 
the Semitic takeover of Sumer by Sargon the 
Great circa 2500 BC, Enlil supersedes him as 
supreme national god of the Sumerian city 
states. 

An (2) 

Possibly a female principle of the creator god An. 
Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Early iconography 
suggests a celestial sky goddess in the form of a 
cow whose udders produce rain and who becomes 
ANTu(m) in the Akkadian pantheon. 

Anaitis 

Fertihty goddess. Persian [Iran]. Her influence 
extended through eastern Europe. In pre-Chris- 
tian Armenia, the center of her cult was at 
Acilisena where noble families regularly surren- 
dered their daughters to service as cultic prosti- 
tutes. 

Anala (fire) 

Attendant god. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group 
of eight Vasu deities answering to the god INDRA. 



Axiaulikutsai'x 1 9 



Ananke 

Goddess of destiny. Greek. Considered to be a 
universal presence. Depicted holding a spindle. 

Ananta 

Snake god. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group of 
seven snake deities or Mahanagas. 

Anantamukhi (with the face of Ananta) 
Deification of literature. Buddhist. One of a 

group of twelve Dharanis. Color: green. Attrib- 
utes: staff and water jar with treasure. 

Anantesa 

Minor deity. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group of 
eight emancipated "lords of knowledge" or 
ViDYESVARAS considered to be aspects of SlVA. 

ANAT 

ORIGIN Canaanite and Phoenician [northern 
Israel, Lebanon and Syria]. Fertility and war 
goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP From prehistoric 

times (circa 2500 BC;) until AD 200 or later. 
SYNONYMS Anath; Lady of the Mountain; Antit 
(Egyptian). 

center(s) of cult Ugarit [Ras Samra] and gen- 
erally in places down the corn-growing coastal 
regions of the eastern Mediterranean. 

ART REFFRENCES named specifically in Egyptian 
hieroglyphic on a stele from Bethsan; described 
on various other votive inscriptions, clay 
plaques etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Ugaritic texts from Ras 
Samra; various offering lists. 

The sister of Baal, Anat is primarily a fertility 
goddess. In art she is usually depicted naked, 



with breasts and vaginal area prominent. Often 
she wears a coiffure similar to that of the Egypt- 
ian goddess Hathor, with whom at times she 
has been closely linked. Anat is described vari- 
ously as "mother of the gods" and "mistress of 
the sky." In addition to her fertility role, she is a 
youthful and aggressive goddess of war, a capac- 
ity in which she was adopted by Egypt from the 
end of the Middle Kingdom (early eighteenth 
century BC) and particularly through the Hyksos 
Dynasty when she was prominent in Lower 
Egypt. A sanctuary was dedicated to her at Tanis 
and she was identified as a daughter of the sun 
god Re with warlike attributes of lance, battle-ax 
and shield. She impressed Rameses II whose 
daughter was called Bin-Anat (daughter of 
Anat). Rameses III adopted her as his "shield" in 
battle. 

The Ras Samra stele describes her as "Antit, 
queen of heaven and mistress of all the gods." 
Known as the "virgin Anat," she indulged in 
orgies of violence "wading up to her thighs in 
blood and gore." She may be one of a triad of 
goddesses with Athirat and Asera. In the classic 
Canaanite confrontation legend, after the pri- 
mordial battle between good and evil in the guise 
of Baal and MoT, Anat searched out the body of 
Baal. She buried it and caught up with his slayer. 
Mot, to take appropriate retribution. She cleaved 
and winnowed, burned and ground Mot in a curi- 
ous variation of a common theme associated else- 
where with gods of vegetation (see OsiRis). She 
also features in the Legend ofAqhat, in which she 
sends an eagle to slay the youth when he refuses 
to give her his magical bow. 

Anaulikutsai'x 

River goddess. Bella Coola Indian [British 
Columbia, Canada]. Said to oversee the arrival 
and departure of the salmon in the rivers. She 
Uves in a cave called Nuskesiu'tsta. 



20 Anbay 



Anbay 

Local tutelary god. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. 
Regarded as a god of justice and an oracular 
source attending the moon god Amm. 

Ancamna 

Water goddess. Romano-Celtic (Continental 
European). Known only from inscriptions at 
Trier. 

Andarta 

Fertility goddess (probable). Celtic (Gallic). 
Patron goddess of the Vocontii tribe. Her name 
seems to have derived either from artos (bear) or 
ar (ploughed land). 
See also Andrasta. 

Andjety 

Chthonic underworld god. Egyptian (Lower). 
Minor deity in anthropomorphic form known 

from the Pyramid Texts. Identified with the 
ninth nome (district). Responsible for rebirth in 
the afterlife and regarded as a consort of several 
fertility goddesses. He was revered at Busiris 
where he clearly heralded the cult of Osiris. 
Attributes: high conical crown (similar to the 
atef cTown of Osiris) decorated with two tall 
plumes, crook and flail. In early Pyramid Texts, 
the feathers are replaced by a bicornuate uterus. 
See also Osiris. 

Andrasta 

Goddess of war. Romano-Celtic (British). The 
patron goddess of the Iceni tribe. The warrior 
queen Boudicca is reported to have prayed to her 
before batde and she was the recipient of human 
sacrifice. Andrasta does not appear in Celtic Gaul, 
though a deity called Andraste is mentioned by the 



Roman writer Dio Cassius. The name may also be 
linked to the goddess Andarta. Also Adrastea. 

Anexdomarus 

Local tribal deity. Romano-Celtic (British). God 
of uncertain affinities but hnked with APOLLO. 

Angru Mainyu (evil spirit) 

Chthonic underworld god of darkness. Persian 

[Iran] . The original Zoroastrian name of the chief 

antagonist of Ahura Mazda. 
See also Ahriman. 

Anhouri 

Minor god. Egyptian. A deity whose mummy was 
allegedly kept at Tanis. 

Ani 

Sky god. Etruscan. Identified as residing in the 

highest heaven and sometimes depicted with two 
faces, equating possibly with the Roman god 
Janus. 

Anila (wind) 

Attendant god. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group 
of eight Vasu deities answering to the god INDRA. 

Anjea 

Animistic fertility spirit. Australasia. Known to 
tribesmen on the Pennefather River, Queensland, 
AustraUa and believed to place mud babies in the 
wombs of pregnant women. The grandmother of 
a newly born infant buried the afterbirth, which 
was collected by Anjea and kept in a hollow tree 
or some such sanctuary until the time came to 
instill it into another child in the womb. 



Anu (1) 21 



Ankalamman 

Guardian goddess. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). 
Known particularly in southern India where she 
wards off demons. Alternatively she is an aspect of 
Kali. 

Anna Kuari 

Local vegetation goddess. Indian. Worshiped by 
the Oraon tribe of Chota Nagpur. The recipient 
of human sacrifice in the spring months, she was 
believed to endow riches on the sacrificer and to 
ensure plentiful harvest while Uving in his house 
in the form of a child. 

Anna Perenna 

Protective goddess. Roman. Allegedly she saved the 
plebeians from femine in their conflict with the 
patricians in ancient Roman mythology. An open- 
air festival dedicated to her was held on March 1 5 
each year in a grove lying to the north of Rome. 

Annamurti 

Form of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Puranic). The 
patron deity of kitchens and food. A shrine at Sri- 
rangam in southern India contains two-armed 
bronze images of the god. Attributes: a ball of 
rice in one hand, and in the other a container of 
payasa (sweetened milk and rice). 

Ansa 

Minor sun god. Hindu (Puranic). One of six 
Aditya descendants of Aditi. 

Ansar 

Primordial deity. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Mentioned in the Babylonian creation 
epic Enuma Elis as one of a pair of offspring (with 



Kisar) of Lahmu and Lahamu, and who in turn 
created Anxj. Ansar is linked with heaven while 
Kisar is identified with earth. 



Anti 

Guardian deity. Egyptian (Upper). Seems to have 
become assimilated with HORUS and was one of 
the protectors of the eastern sky in which the sun 
rises. According to some texts he is also responsi- 
ble for the decapitation of the goddess Hathor in 
a conflict for the throne of Egypt. Anti is known 
from Aliddle Kingdom coffin texts (circa 2000 BC). 
Depicted as a falcon, or a human with a falcon's 
head, standing on a crescent-shaped barque. 

ANTU 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) 
[Iraq]. Creator goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2000 BC, but 

evolving fi-om prehistory, to circa 200 BC. 
SYNONYMS Antum; ANUNITU. 
center(s) OF CULT Uruk and Babylon. 
ART REFERENCES glyptics, stone Carvings, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Babylonian creation epic 

Enuma Elis documents relating to the akitu 

festival. 

Antu is a Babylonian goddess derived from the 

older Sumerian Kl, though the cosmogony has 
been altered to suit a separate tradition. The con- 
sort of the god of heaven, Anu, she was a domi- 
nant feature of the Babylonian akitu festival until 
as recently as 200 BC, her later pre-eminence pos- 
sibly attributable to identification with the Greek 
goddess Hera. 

Anu (1) 

Creator god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Consort of ANTU(m). Derived from 



22 Anu (2) 



the older Siimerian god An. Anu features strongly 
in the akitu festival in Babylon, Uruk and other 
cities until the Hellenic period and possibly as 
late as 200 BC. Some of his later pre-eminence 
may be attributable to identification with the 
Greek god of heaven, Zeus, and with OURANOS. 

Anu (2) 

Chthonic mother goddess. Celtic (Irish). Closely 
associated with fertility and the primordial 
mother of the TuATHA DE Danann. Twin hills 
near Killarney in Munster are called "The Paps of 
Anu." Also Ana. 

ANUBIS [Greek] 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Mortuary god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2700 BC (but 

extending from pre-Dynastic times) until end 

of Egyptian history circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Imy-ut (he who is in the mortuary); 

Khenty-imentiu (chief of the westerners); 

Khenty-seh-netjer (chief of the gods' pavilion); 

Neb-ta-djeser (lord of the sacred land); Tepy- 

dju-ef (he who is upon the mountain). 
CENTER(s) OF CULT the necropolis at Memphis 

and elsewhere. 
ART REFERENCES tomb effigies, wall paintings, 

statuettes etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts; funerary texts 

and hymns. 

The parentage of Anubis is confused but the most 
popular notion seems to place him as a son of Re 
and of Nephthys or IsiS. The god of mortuaries, 
Anubis takes the form of a black dog or jackal 
usually in a lying down or crouching position, 
ears pricked and long tail hanging. He wears a 
collar with magical connotations. Less often he 
appears in human form with a canine head. The 
imagery of a dog probably originated from obser- 



vation of bodies being scavenged from shallow 
graves and the desire to protect them from such 
a fate by manifesting Anubis as a dog himself 
The Book of the Dead has him standing by the 
scales in which the heart is weighed in the Hall of 
the Two Truths, and he is sometimes known as 
the "claimer of hearts." Anubis was perceived to 
superintend the embalming of kings and courtiers 
in the mortuary and the subsequent binding with 
linen bandages. His coat color is thought to be 
black because of the color of the corpse after the 
embalming process, which darkened it, and the 
use of black tar to seal the bindings. His symbol 
in the context of mortuary god is an animal skin, 
headless, dripping blood and tied to a pole. At 
the subsequent funeral ceremony of the Opening 
of the Mouth the priest wore a jackal headdress. 
The main cemetery sites are on the west bank of 
the Nile where the sun sets, hence one epithet for 
Anubis — "chief of the westerners"; another, "he 
who is upon the mountain," conjures an image of 
Anubis watching over the cemeteries from the 
high escarpments. 

In the Greco-Roman period he became a cos- 
mic deity of earth and sky somewhat removed 
from his older function. 

Anukis [Greek] 

Birth goddess. Egyptian (Upper). Minor deity 
with cult centers in lower Nubia and at Elephan- 
tine. She is variously the daughter of Re, and of 
Khnum and Satis. Anukis Uves in the cataracts of 
the Lower Nile. Her portrait appears in the Tem- 
ple of Rameses II at Beit-et-Wali where she suck- 
les the pharaoh, suggesting that she is connected 
with birth and midwifery, but she also demon- 
strates a malignant aspect as a strangler (see 
Hathor). Her sacred animal is the gazelle. 
Depicted anthropomorphically wearing a turban 
(modius) with ostrich feathers. Also Anuket 
(Egyptian). 



Aparajita 23 



Anu-Mate 

God of space. Polynesian. One of the sons of 
RangINUI by Pokoharua, the sister of TangAROA, 
the sea god. He belongs to a group of deities 
engendered at the time of creation that includes 
Anu-Mate, Anu-Matao, Anu-Whakarere and 
Anu-Whakatoro, all of whom rule over different 
aspects of space above the upper world. Anu- 
Mate is perceived as the god responsible for the 
"space of cold death" and in fact all of the group 
are envisaged as deities ruhng over realms of great 
cold. 

Anunitu 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). 
See also Antu. 

Anunnaki 

Children and courtiers of the god of heaven. 
Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian-Akka- 
dian). Known from at least 2500 BC until circa 200 
BC (in Babylon). The Anunnaki originate as 
chthonic fertiUty deities but later feature as the 
seven fearsome judges of the underworld who 
answer to Kur and Ereskigal and who are 
responsible for passing sentences of death includ- 
ing that placed on the goddess INANA. They are 
often closely identified with the IGIGI. 

Anuradha 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Puranic). A 
benevolent naksatra or astral deity, daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Aondo 

Creator god. Tiv [central Nigeria, West Africa]. 
An abstract principle who lives in the sky. He 



sends the sun each morning, roars with the thun- 
der which heralds his storms and is the creator of 
the earth. 

Apa 

Attendant god. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group 
of eight Vasu deities answering to the god INDRA. 
Attributes: hook and plough. 

Apacita 

Guardian spirit. Inca (pre-Columbian South 
America) [Peru, etc]. The apotheosis of a pile of 
stones marking the top of a pass or some other 
critical point on a route invoked by travelers 
with small offerings to strengthen them on their 
journey. 

Apatn Napat (grandchild of the water) 

1 . God of fresh water. Persian [Iran] . He provides 
water in arid regions and suppresses rebeUions. 

2. God of fresh water. Hindu (Vedic). Mentioned 
in the Rg Veda, he is described as "golden in 
appearance." 

Apap 

Creator god. Teso [Uganda, East Africa]. 
Regarded as a benevolent sky god who brings the 
rain to parched land. Also Akuj. 

Aparajita (unconquered) 

1. God. Hindu (Puranic). One of the eleven 
Ekadasarudras or forms of Rudra. Attributes: 
bell, bowl, club, drum, hook, lance, lotus, prayer 
wheel, rod, rosary, shield, sword and trident. 

2. Minor god. Buddhist (Mahayana). 

3. Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Form of DURGA. 
Her attendant animal is a lion. Attributes: 



24 Apedemak 



arrow, shield, snake and sword. 4. Goddess. 
Buddhist (Mahayana). She stands or treads 
on the god Ganesa. Color: yellow. Attributes: 
bell, hook, image of Ratnasambhava, noose 
and staff. 

Apedemak 

War god. Sudanese (Meroe). An Egyptianized 

deity, his main sanctuary was contained in a vast 
religious complex and center of pilgrimage at 
Musawwarat-es-Sufra, north of the sixth Nile 
cataract. Sacred animals include cattle and the 
African elephant. Depicted with the head of a hon 
and a human body, holding a scepter embellished 
with a seated lion at the tip. 

Aphrodisias 

Fertility goddess. Carian [southwestern Turkey]. 
Equating with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. 

APHRODITE (foam-horn) 
ORIGIN Greek and Cypriot. Goddess of sexual 
love. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP identified from 
circa 1300 BC: (evolving from an earlier prehis- 
toric Asiatic model), until Christianization 
(circa AD 400) and later. 

SYNONYMS equating with ISTAR (Akkadian); 
ASTARTE (Syrian); AsTORETH (Phoenician); 
Dione, Cytherea, Venus (Roman). 

center(s) of cult Paphos, Amathus and Kition 
(Cyprus), Corinth and elsewhere on Greek 
mainland. 

ART references Bronze Age statuettes 
(Cyprus); votive stelae; the Parthenon frieze 
and other contemporary sculpture. 

LITERARY SOURCES Iliad and Odyssey (Homer); 
Theogony and Hymn to Aphrodite (Hesiod); tem- 
ple hymns, particularly Hymn of Sappho. 



Aphrodite is one of the major goddesses of the 
Greek Homeric pantheon, according to legend 
born as a cosmic deity from the foam of the ocean 
after her father OURANOS was castrated by Kro- 
NOS and his genitals were hurled into the sea. In 
other accounts she is of a "younger" generation, 
a daughter of Zeus. She is the consort of Hep- 
HAISTOS and occasional mistress of other deities, 
including Ares. Through liaison with the herds- 
man Anchises she bore Aeneas who is said to have 
carried his father to safety on his back during the 
sack of Troy. Her sacred animal is the goat. 
Aphrodite seems clearly to have evolved from the 
Phoenician or Mesopotamian model of a goddess 
of love and one of her strongest early cults was on 
the island of Cyprus. Her name derives from the 
Greek word for the sexual act. She is perceived, in 
some contexts, as being androgynous and even 
bearded (see also Artemis). As with her Meso- 
potamian predecessors she is a goddess of war 
and victory. Lnmediate predecessors to the Hel- 
lenic model seem to be present in the Mycenaean 
period particularly at the Kition sanctuary. The 
Paphos sanctuary definitely suggests Phoenician 
inspiration. In the Iliad, Aphrodite rescues Paris 
from his fight with Menelaus and returns him to 
the arms of Helen in Troy. 

In Hellenic art Aphrodite is particularly drawn 
wearing fine clothes and jewelry. She possesses a 
girdle with magical properties. The femed statue of 
the goddess from Cnidos (circa 340 BC:), depicting 
her naked, is the first of many such erotic inter- 
pretations. The temple at Paphos once dispensed 
model phalli and lumps of salt to cultic pilgrims, 
and the Corinthian sanctuary enjoyed, according 
to Strabo, more than a thousand cultic prostitutes. 

Apis 

Bull god. Egyptian. The living personification of 
the creator god Ptah in Memphis, he acts as an 
intermediary between the supreme god and 



APOLLO 25 



mankind. His mother is IsiS, who engendered 
him in a lightning flash. The bull is depicted as 
wholly black apart from a small white triangle on 
the forehead, and it bears vulture wings. Between 
its horns are surmounted the sun disc (or, in later 
times, the moon) and the uraeus (snake symbol). 

The cult of the bull is very ancient and is 
attested in Egypt from at least 3000 BC. Accord- 
ing to the Greek writer Herodotus, huge stames 
of Apis supported the temple of Ptah in Memphis, 
hi a ritual of viriHty, the king paced alongside the 
charging buU to renew his strength. The average 
life of an Apis bull was fourteen years, at the end 
of which each was mummified and interred in 
huge sarcophagi, which were placed in catacombs 
at the necropoHs at Seqqara. The bull also has 
strong underworld connections. 

See also Sarapis. 

Aplu 

Weather god. Etruscan. No cult is identifiably 
addressed to this deity. He is depicted partly 

cloaked and wearing a laurel leaf, but otherwise 
naked. Attributes include a staff and laurel twig. 

Apo (lord) 

Mountain god. Inca (pre-Columbian South 
America) [Peru, etc]. The apotheosis of an 
Andean mountain, all mountains being sacred to 
the South American Indians. 

APOLLO 

ORIGIN Greek and possibly cultures in Asia 

Minor. God of hunting and heaUng. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1300 BC and 

earUer until Christianization (circa AD 400) and 

probably later. 
SYNONYMS Apellon (pre-Homeric); Atepomarus 

(Celtic). 



center(s) of cult Delos, Pylo-Delphi and 
many other sanctuaries throughout the Greek 
world. 

ART REFERENCES the Parthenon frieze; the 
Belvedere Apollo triumphing over the Python; 

Apollo and Daphne; a famed but lost statue 
from Delos; Apollo holding the three Charites 
in his right hand; other contemporary sculpture 
and painting. 
LITERARY SOURCES Iliad and Odyssey (Homer); 
Theogony and Hymn to Apollo (Hesiod); various 
other temple hymns. 

One of the major Greek deities always perceived as 
a god who epitomizes youthfiil mascuUnity, possi- 
bly with early links to Lycia in Asia Minor (Hittite) 
and to Minoan Crete. Generally a distant rather 
than an intimate and approachable god. His 
mother is Leto who wandered the world in great 
suffering until she chanced on the island of Delos 
where she found refuge, and Apollo is often por- 
trayed as part of a triad vnth Leto and Artemis. He 
epitomizes the transition between adolescence and 
manhood in Greek male society. At Delphi his 
sanctuary is central to the complex. At Delos it 
appears secondary to that of Artemis. The paean 
dance of healing which is particularly known from 
the Hyakinthia festival at Amyklai (Sparta) is closely 
identified with the Apollo cult. Not only is he a god 
of healing but also of pestilence. He is the father of 
Asklepios, the god of healing, and he is continu- 
ally associated with purification rites and oracles. 

Generally Apollo is dravm as a god of hunters 
carrying a bow and arrow and associated with a stag 
or roe. He is also pictured with lions. He became, 
improbably, the patron god of poets and leader of 
the Muses (daughters of Zeus). Literature often 
presents Apollo in a dual aspect of fearsome hunter 
and gracious player of the lyre. In the former capac- 
ity he was at times merciless, kilMng the many chil- 
dren of Niobe who had boasted of them to the 
chagrin of Leto. He fought and slew the Delphic 



26 Apsaras 



python and the Olympic Cyclopes, but in both 
cases himself became subject to general laws of 
morality and suffered temporary banishment. 
Apollo is strongly associated with the mystical num- 
ber seven (almost certainly a Mesopotamian con- 
cept). In Ugaritic inscriptions he is referred to as 
Resep of the Arrow (see Resep). Apollo was widely 
revered under various local synonyms by the Celts. 

Apsaras 

Water spirits. Hindu (Vedic). Identified as musi- 
cians and protective deities of gamblers bringing 
good fortune. They may also bring insanity. 

Apsu 

God of underground primeval waters. Mesopo- 
tamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). Derived from the 
Sumerian AbZU. In the Babylonian creation epic 
Enuma Elis, Apsu is killed, while sleeping, by 
Enki, who establishes his ovm abode above the 
deeps. Apsu's death triggered the cosmic challenge 
between the forces of Marduk and TiAMAT. 

Aquilo 

Weather god. Roman. God of the west winds. 
A'ra 

Local tutelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Known from inscriptions at Bostra [near Damas- 
cus] . The name implies an altar or holy place, but 

its Arabic root also means to dye, suggesting that 
the altars were stained with the blood of sacrifices, 
probably children. 

Arachne 

Minor goddess. Roman. Concerned vnth the craft 
of weaving. 



Aralo 

Local god of agriculture. Pre-Christian Geor- 
gian. Probably derived from the Armenian god 
Aray. 



Aranyani 

Minor goddess of woodlands. Hindu (Vedic). 
Possibly having evolved from a primitive ani- 
mistic guardian spirit of animals, Aranyani is an 
elusive, rarely seen, deity who is recognized in 
the sounds of the trees, particularly at dusk. She 
is a benign figure, sweet-scented and unvniling to 
destroy unless severely provoked. 

Arapacana 

God. Buddhist. A bodhisattva or spiritual 
meditation buddha. Originally a Dharani of 
Manjusri who became deified. Accompanied by 
four minor deities. Also a collective name for the 
five huddhas. Color: yellow or red. Attributes: 
standing wearing a monkish garment and carry- 
ing book and sword. 

Arawa 

Moon goddess. Suk and Pokot [Kenya and 
Uganda, East Africa]. The two tribes share the 
same pantheon of deities. Arawa is the daughter of 
the creator god ToRORUT and his consort Seta. 

Arawn 

Chthonic underworld god. Celtic (Welsh). The 
leader of the phantom hunt seen chasing a white 
stag with a pack of red-eared hounds. He 
equates with Gw'YNN Ap Nudd, a similar deity 
known in South Wales. His chief underworld 
opponent is Hafgan and he bribes PWYLL, 
prince of Dyfed, to challenge Hafgan in 
exchange for a gift of pigs. 



Areimanios 27 



Aray 

War god. Pre-Christian Armenian. Probably 
derived locally from the Greek Ares. Some 
traditions suggests that he was also a dying-and- 
rising god. 

ARCHON(S) (rulers) 
ORIGIN Gnostic Christian (eastern Mediter- 
ranean]. Primordial creator gods. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 100 tO 

AD 400 and probably persisting later. 
SYNONYMS eksousiai (authorities, Greek). 
center(s) of cult undefined cells within the 

area of early Christian influence. 
ART REFERENCES none. 
LITERARY SOURCES Nag Hawmadi codices. 

The Archons are the primordial celestial rulers of 
the cosmos. The Gnostic cosmogony argues that 
the God of Israel was not the original or sole 
creator but was a product of other older tyranni- 
cal forces who were eventually defeated in the 
conflict of light and dark. The Archons are the 
original creators of mortal man, though in the 
form in which they contrived him, he did not 
possess a soul. The main Hterary texts include 
the Hypostasis of the Archons, and the treatise on 
The Origin of the World, both forming part of the 
Nag Hammadi collection written down during 
the third or fourth century AD and probably 
owing much to Greek philosophy. The material 
was banned under the censorship of the early 
Christian fathers. 

Arcismati (brilliant) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of 
several deified Bhumis recognized as different 
spiritual spheres through which a disciple 
passes. Color: green. Attributes: blue lotus and 
staff. 



Ardhanari(svara) (fhe lord being half 

woman) 

God. Hindu (Puranic). The god SiVA combined 
with his Sakti as a single being. His attendant 
animal is the bull. In iconography the left side of 

the image is female and the right male. A tutelary 
deity of eunuchs in India. Attributes: (right side) 
blue lotus, cup, hatchet, lute, moon disc, pestle, 
skin, sword and trident; (left side) ax, mirror, 
noose, pitcher, rosary, sacred rope and trident. 
May appear as three-headed. Also Ammaiappan 
(Tamil); Naranari. 

Ardra 

Minor goddess of misfortune. Hindu (Puranic). A 
malevolent NAKSATRA or astral deity; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Arduiima 

Goddess of forests and hunting. Romano-Celtic 
(Continental European). Known only from 

inscriptions and figurines in the Ardennes 
region. Depicted riding on the back of a wild 
boar and presumed to be a guardian deity 
of boars. Identified by the Romans with the 
goddess Diana. 

Arebati 

Creator god. Bambuti [Congo, West Africa]. 
Worshiped by a pigmy tribe living along the 
banks of the river Ituri. He is considered to have 
created mankind from clay and blood, covered 
with skin. 

Areimanios 

Chthonic underworld god. Greek. Probably 
derived fi-om the Persian deity Aheiman. Plutarch 
identifies him as the embodiment of Hades. 



28 Arensnuphis 



Arensnuphis [Greek] 

Local god of uncertain affinities. Egyptian 
(Nubian). Probably significant circa 700 BC to 
AD 400 as an attendant of ISIS. He appeared in 
Egyptian sanctuaries during the Greco-Roman 
period and seems to have been of benevolent 
nature. There is also a sanctuary known from 
Philae in Greece where he is linked with Isis. 
Depicted in anthropomorphic form wearing a 
plumed crown or in the form of a lion. Also 
Ari-hes-nefer (Egyptian). 

ARES (throng of war) 
ORIGIN Greek. God of War. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC, but 

probably from earlier times, until Christianiza- 
tion (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS none. 

CENTER(s) of cult no sanctuaries known until 
Roman times, when a temple was dedicated in 
the Agora in Athens. 

ART REFERENCES the Parthenon frieze; a cele- 
brated statue by Alkamenes; other contempo- 
rary sculpture. 

LITERARY SOURCES chiefly Iliad (Homer) and 
Theogony (Hesiod). 

Ares is a lesser known member of the Olympic pan- 
theon of great gods, the son of Zeus and Hera, 
who allegedly lived in Thrace. As a warrior 
god he is contrasted with the more prominent and 
successful goddess Athena who fought and 
vanquished him in a war between the gods. 
Although Athena stands for victory in battle 
through glory and honor. Ares epitomizes the evil 
and more brutal aspects of warfere. hi the eyes of 
Zeus he is "the most hateful of gods." His war char- 
iot is pulled by Phobos (fear) and Deimos (terror). 

Ares' sons were even more barbaric than he. 
Kyknos was a ferocious killer who, until slain by 
Herakles, was proposing a temple constructed 



of human skulls. Another notorious son of Ares 

was the dragon slain by Kadmos as he sought to 
found the city of Thebes. Its teeth, which he 
sowed in the earth, germinated and sprang up as 
warriors, the grandsons of Ares, who promptly 
turned on each other in mortal combat. Ares 
entered into a brief haison with Aphrodite, the 
goddess consort of Hephaistos, and through her 
fathered a daughter, Harmonia, whom Kadmos 
later married, thus paving the way to establish 
Thebes in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. 

Ariadne 

Goddess of vegetation. Greek. Possibly derived 

from an unnamed Minoan goddess identified on 
Crete. According to Homer and Hesiod she is a 
daughter of MiNOS and a consort of DiONYSOS. 
Her crown, given by Zeus, is the Corona BoreaHs. 
Tradition has it that she was wooed and then 
deserted by the hero Theseus. 

Arianrhod 

Chthonic earth goddess. Celtic (Welsh). Respon- 
sible for initiation of souls in the otherworld 
in the tower of Caer Sidi. Mentioned in the 
Mabinogion texts as the possible daughter of Beh, 
consort of Don and mother of Llew Llaw 
Gyffes and Dylan. 

Arimanius 

Chthonic underworld god. Roman. 
See also AREIMANIOS. 

Ariima (sun goddess) 

Solar deity. Hittite and Hurrian. May have taken 
androgynous form, but also identified as the con- 
sort of the weather god Tesub. Probably the head 
of the Hittite state pantheon. There is little detail 
because the reUgious center of Arinna is known 



Arsay 29 



only from texts. The stin goddess was also per- 
ceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth god- 
dess. She becomes largely syncretized with the 
Hurrian goddess Hebat. 

Aristaios 

God of herdsmen. Greek. The consort of Auto- 
noe. Of ancient origin, worshiped by peasants as 
a guardian of herds and beekeepers. The cult con- 
tinued for many centuries at Kyrene [Libya]. 

Arjuna (silvery) 

Heroic god. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
Arjuna appears in the Mahahharata epic. One of 
the princely sons of the mythical Pandu family, 
his father is Indra. He generally appears with the 
warrior god Bhima. Allegedly responsible for 
requesting ViSNU to take his ViSVARUPA form but 
also identified as a minor incarnation or avatar a of 
Visnu. Attributes: usually depicted bearing a bow 
received from Agni the fire god, but may also 
appear carrying a sword and shield. Also Nara. 

Arma 

Minor moon god. Hittite and Hurrian. Depicted 
winged and wearing a sickle moon surmounted 
on a horned helmet. 

Armaz 

Supreme god. Pre-Christian Georgian. Depicted 
as a warrior deity clad in golden armor, wearing 
jewels and wielding a sword. 

Amakua'gsak 

Animistic spirit. Inuit (North American). The 
"Old Woman of the Sea" who supplies all 
the physical needs of the Eskimo from the ocean. 



Amemetia 

Water goddess. Romano-Celtic (British). A deity 
known only from inscriptions. 



Arom 

Minor god of contractual agreements. Kafir 
[Afghanistan]. Arom appears to have been signif- 
icant only to a tribe known as the Kam in the 
southern Hindukush. He was honored by sacri- 
fice of a male goat on the occasion of a peace 
treaty, and had seven brothers. 



ARSAN DUOLAI (terrihle dweller of the 

underground world) 
ORIGIN Yakut [eastern Siberia]. Chief spirit of 

the underworld. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until circa AD 1900. 
SYNONYMS none. 
center(s) of cult none. 
art REFERENCES none positively identified 

though possibly the subject of wooden 

icons. 

LITERARY SOURCES The Yakut Qochelson). 

Little is known of this animistic god, though he 
was considered to Uve in the lower world and rule 
over a nebulous group of spirits, the Abasy. T) 
these subterranean deities horned cattle were 
slaughtered. Abasy also lived in the upper world, 
in which capacity they were recipients of horse 
sacrifice. 



Arsay 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Western Semitic 
(Canaanite). According to epic creation texts, she 
is the third daughter of Baal at Ugarit (Ras 
Samra), possibly also equating with Allatum. 



30 Arsu 



Arsu 

Astraltutelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Locally worshiped at Palmyra where he personi- 
fies the evening star, in company with his brother 
AziZOS who is the morning star. He equates with 
Ruda elsewhere in northern Arabia. Associated 
in Palmyra with horses or camels. 

ARTEMIS 

ORIGIN Greek, but known extensively through 
western Asia. Principally goddess of animals 
and hunting, but in Greek-speaking Asia, a 
mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC and 
earher until Christianization (circa AD 400) and 
probably later. 

SYNONYMS Potnia Theron (mistress of the 
animals). 

CENTER(s) of cult Antioch-near-Pisidia; Delos; 

Magnesia-on-the-Maeander; Pamphyha; Perge; 

Ephesus [Turkey]. 
ART REFERENCES cultic statues, etc, most notably 

the multi-breasted figures at Ephesus. 
LITERARY SOURCES Cuneiform texts (earher Asian 

models); Iliad (Homer), Theogony (Hesiod). 

Artemis is a deity of very ancient origins who 
survived and attracted great popularity in both 
Asia Minor and Greece into Christian times, 
when arguably much of her ethos was trans- 
ferred to the Virgin Mary. Both figures enjoyed 
major sanctuaries at Ephesus. As an Asiatic god- 
dess Artemis was often drawn winged and 
standing between wild animals. In this context 
she generally appears equipped with boots, a 
torch and a pointed cap. She is also a strongly 
androgynous figure, a feature depicted dramat- 
ically in the statue of Artemis of Ephesus. Her 
temple at Ephesus dates from the fourth cen- 
tury BC and is ranked among the seven wonders 
of the world. The cult statues were carried in 



procession on May 2 5 among a congregation of 
up to 30,000. 

T) the Greeks she was the daughter of Zeus 
and Leto. She was honored in the sanctuary 
on Delos with its celebrated Horn Altar from 
circa 700 EC. In Greek mythology the androgy- 
nous aspect was firmly discounted. In her earli- 
est pre-Homeric form the Mistress of Animals 
"suckles the young of every wild creature that 
roams the fields." As a huntress she uses a bow 
and arrows. 

By Homeric times the ferocity of this prehis- 
toric element has waned in favor of a more timid 
image of a young girl dominated robustly by her 
stepmother Hera. A contrary character study in 
the Odyssey pictures her more positively as a vir- 
gin goddess chasing and killing boars and hinds 
over the hills and fields, fleet of foot and in com- 
pany with a band of nymphs. She presides over 
nature and over the initiation rituals of young 
girls. She is also a goddess of blood sacrifice. A 
cruel element emerged in a different sense as she 
threatened any maiden who turned to the role of 
wife. Paradoxically, and more in keeping with the 
old Semitic personality, she is also the goddess of 
birth. 

Arthapratisamvit 

Goddess of logical analysis. Buddhist (Vajrayana). 
One of a group of four. Color: green. Attributes: 
jewel and noose. 

Artio of Muri 

Fertility goddess and guardian spirit of bears. 
Romano-Celtic (Continental Etiropean). Known 
only from inscriptions and sculptures in the 
Berne region of Switzerland, she is linked with 
bears. A bronze depicts her offering fruit to a 
bear. She seems also to be a goddess of prosper- 
ity and harvest. She became syncretized with the 



ASERAH 31 



Roman god Mercury as Mercury Artaios. Also 
Artemis Brauronia. 

Arundhati (faithfulness) 
Astral goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Personification 
of the morning star and the wife of all risis or 
inspired sons of BRAHMA though particularly asso- 
ciated with Vasistha. Attributes: begging bowls. 

Aruru 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian) 
See also NINHURSAGA. 

Arvernus 

Local tribal deity. Celtic (Gallic). God of the 
Arverni. 

Aryaman (companion) 

Minor sun god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). In 
Vedic times, the god of formal hospitality. One of 
six Aditya sons of the goddess Aoin. Attributes: 
club, two lotuses and prayer wheel. 

Aiya-Tara (the honorable Tara) 

Goddess. Buddhist. The Sakti of Amoghasid- 

DHi. Her name is often abbreviated to Tara and 

she originates from the TAM bija or seed. Color: 

green. Attributes: green lotus and staff. Also 

Vasya-Tara. 

As 

Local fertility god. Egyptian (western Sahara). 
Known from the Early Dynastic Period. By infer- 
ence a benign god of oases and other fertile areas 
of the desert. Epithets include "lord of Libya." 



Depicted anthropomorphically, occasionally 
hawk-headed. 

Asalluha 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). A son of Enki who apparently 
acts as a messenger and reporter to his father. 
Linked with rituals of exorcism. Cult center 
Ku'ara. In Babylonian times he became largely 
syncretized with Marduk. 

Asar 

Equestrian god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Known only from inscriptions at Palmyra. 

Asase Yaa 

Chthonic fertility goddess. Ashanti [Ghana, West 
Africa] . A major deity revered over a vwde area of 
Akan- and Fante-speaking Ghana. She has no 
temples or priests but days (Thursdays) are set 

aside in her honor and no ploughing is permitted. 
By tradition a farmer sacrifices a cockerel to her 
each year to ensure a good harvest, sprinkHng the 
blood on the ground. As the womb of the earth, 
she represents the goddess of the dead and she is 
also goddess of truth. Also Asase Efua (Fante). 

ASERAH 

ORIGIN Amorite, then Canaanite and possibly 

Phoenician [Lebanon from Tyre northwards, 

Syria]. Mother goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from prehistoric 

times circa third millennium BC until Chris- 

tianization (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS ATHIRAT. 

center(s) OF CULT Ugarit [Ras Samra] and hill 
shrines throughout the corn-growing coastal 
region of the eastern Mediterranean. 



32 Asertu 



ART REFERENCES none sxiTviving, but once exten- 
sively represented. 

LITERARY SOURCES Ugaritic texts from Ras 
Samra, particularly The Legend ofBaalandAnat; 
Vetus Testamentum. 

Aserah is the great mother goddess of Canaan. 
Known as "Lady Aserah of the sea," she seems to 
have lived close by the place of II, the Canaanite 
creator god, and is said to have had many sons. 
She is described as the "creatress of the gods" and 
the matron of a number of other goddesses who 
oversee the natural world. She is also ambiguous 
in her attitude to Baal. She intercedes with II 
when Baal wishes to build a palace of his own yet, 
when he is vanquished, she attempts to place one 
of her own offspring on the throne. It is Aserah 
who gave her name to the hill shrines under the 
trees which were vilified by the writers of the bib- 
Ucal prophetic books such as Ezekiel. Translated 
as "grove" in the King James English version, the 
aserah seems to have been a carved wooden pillar 
which formed the focal point of worship in con- 
junction with a stone massehah. The asrah repre- 
sented the presence of the mother goddess. Its 
popularity with large numbers of Israelites is 
beyond dispute, but because of its pagan conno- 
tations and particularly its representation of the 
mother goddess linked with rituals of fertihty, the 
aserah became one of the major irritations of the 
prophets and other religious leaders of the tribes 
during the period of the Israehte kingship. It may 
have stimulated large numbers of rank-and-file 
to abandon or take a strongly ambivalent attitude 
toward Yhwhism. 

Asertu 

Fertility goddess. Western Semitic (Canaanite) 
and Hittite. Identified in Ugaritic (Ras Samra) 
texts as an unfaithful consort of Elkunirsa. Also 
Aserdus (Hittite). 



Ashiakle 

Goddess of wealth. Gan [district around Accra, 
Ghana, West Africa]. The daughter of Nai, 
god of the sea, she was born in the ocean and 
came to land in a canoe. Her colors are red and 
white. 

Asira 

Local god. Pre-Lslamic northern Arabian. 
Mentioned only in name by the Babylonian 
king Nabonidus, worshiped at Taima and 
influenced strongly by Egyptian culture. 
See also Salm. 



Asis 

Sun god. Suk and Pokot [Kenya and Uganda, 
East Africa]. These two tribes share the 
same pantheon. The younger brother of the 
supreme god of heaven ToRORUT. In Nandi 
[Kenya] religion, Asis becomes the supreme 
creator god. 

ASKLEPIOS 

ORIGIN Greek. God of physicians and healing. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 800 BC or ear- 
lier to Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Asklapios, Aisklapios. 

center(s) of cult Epidauros; Kos; the 
Asklepeion in Pergamon. 

ART REFERENCES various sculptures. 

literary sources Iliad (Homer); Catalogues 
(Hesiod). 

The son of Apollo and a mortal consort, Coro- 
nis, Asklepios lived effectively as a mortal and 
died as such. He was nonetheless regarded as a 
deity. He was reared by the centaur Charon and 
fathered two sons, Podaleirios and Machaon, 
who were also physicians. More familiar from 



Astaphaios 33 



modern usage is his daughter, the goddess 
Hygieia (health). Asklepios is symboHzed by a 
rod with twin snakes coiled around it. He is also 
represented in his sanctuaries by a captive snake. 
According to legend he met his death at the 
hand of Zeus for presuming to bring a mortal 
being back from death. Physicians on Kos 
formed into a guild, the Asklepiadai (sons of 
Asklepios). The Epidauros sanctuary became an 
influential place of pilgrimage by the sick and 
infirm in classical times. 

Aslesa(s) (adherence) 

Minor goddess of misfortune. Hindu (Epic 
and Puranic). A malevolent naksatra or astral 
deity; daughter of Daksa and wife of Candra 
(Soma). 

Asnan 

Vegetation goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian 
and Babylonian- Akkadian). Minor deity prob- 
ably known to the Sumerians from circa 3500 
BC or earlier. She is concerned with the abun- 
dance of grain in the fields, sent as its protec- 
tress by the gods Enlil and Enki. According to 
creation accounts, she and the cattle god Lahar 
were first intended to serve the needs of the 
Annunaki, the celestial children of An, but 
when the heavenly creatures were found unable 
to make use of their products, humankind was 
created to provide an outlet for their services. 
Attributes: ears of corn sprouting from her 
shoulders. 

Asokottamasri (the great beauty of Asoka) 
Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among one of a series of medicine 
buddhas or sMan-Bla in Lamaism. Typically 
depicted with stretched earlobes. Color: red. 



Asopos 

Local river god. Greek (Beotian). Known only 
from regions of central Greece as one of the sons 
of Poseidon. 

Aspalis 

Hunting goddess. Western Semitic. There is 
scant mention of Aspalis fi-om MeUte in Phthia 

and she is probably a local version of Artemis. As 
in certain Artemis mythology, she hanged herself 
and her body disappeared. 

Asratum 

Fertility goddess. Western Semitic (Canaanite). 
Probably a corruption of the Semitic Athirat or 
ASERAH. Also mentioned in Babylonian texts from 
the Hellenistic period. Also Asrat (Akkadian). 

Assur 

Tutelary god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akka- 
dian). The national deity of Assyria. In the Assyr- 
ian copies of the creation epic Enuma Elis, he 
replaces Marduk as the hero. 

Astabi 

Deity. Hittite and Hurrian. Known only from 
inscriptions. 

Astamatara 

Generic term for a group of mother goddesses. 
Hindu (Puranic). Eight deities who are varieties 
of the goddess Camxjnda, often malevolent. 

Astaphaios 

Primordial deity. Gnostic Christian. One of the 
androgynous principles born to Yaldabaoth, the 



34 Astar 



prime parent, ruling the seven heavens of chaos in 
gnostic mythology. 

Astar 

Astral god. Ethiopian. Identified in Axum Empire 
inscriptions from circa AD 200-400. 

Astaroth 

Fertility goddess. Western Semitic. Goddess of 
sheep herders equating with the Phoenician god- 
dess ASTARTE. Also a plural form of the name 
Astoreth and used as a collective name for god- 
desses (cf Baal). 

ASTARTE (star) 

ORIGIN western Semitic, predominantly Phoeni- 
cian [Lebanon and Syria]. Eertility goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from circa 1500 BC 

or earlier until circa 200 BC. 

SYNONYMS Astarat; Attart (Ugarit). 

center(s) of cult predominantly Tyre; also 
Sidon, Byblos, Ascalon, Carthage, Kition 
[Cyprus], Eryx [Sicily] and Malta. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures, plaques, votive ste- 
lae, glyptics, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES mainly inscriptions. 

The goddess of the evening star, of war and of 
sexual love. Inscriptions from the fifth century BC 
in her major temple at Sidon suggest she was per- 
ceived as an emanation of Baal Samin, personify- 
ing his divine power. She is also his consort. Her 
animal is the sphinx, which typically appears on 
either side of her throne. She is often represented 
by baetyls or stone stelae. In Hellenic times she 
became largely syncretized with the Greek god- 
dess APHRGDrTE. A first century BC inscription in 
a sanctuary dedicated to Aphrodite at Delos iden- 
tifies the "holy Syrian goddess." Astarte is tj^pi- 
caUy depicted naked and, in the Egyptian style. 



wears a crown of cows' horns enclosing a sun disc. 
The latter may have rays emanating. 
See also Astoreth, Istar and Aserah. 

Astlik 

Astral goddess. Pre-Christian Armenian. Derived 
from the Mesopotamian model of ISTAR. Survived 
in Christian times as the mother of fairies. 

ASTORETH 

ORIGIN Palestinian and Philistine [Israel, 

Lebanon]. FertiHty goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1200 BC or 

earlier until circa 200 BC. 
SYNONYMS Astaroth. 

center(s) of cult Palestine coastal region 

including Jerusalem. 
ART references various sculpmres. 
literary sources inscriptions; Vetus Testamen- 

tum. 

Astoreth equates with the Syrian goddess ASTARTE, 
both being modeled on the Mesopotamian Istar. 
She was adopted, typically, as goddess of both 
love and war. She is usually depicted wearing a 
horned headdress. Biblical references include I 
Kings 11.5 and II Kings 23.13. Solomon is said to 
have built a temple in her honor near Jerusalem. 
The name is said, by some authors, to be synony- 
mous with Astaroth. 

Asuha-No-Kami 

God of courtyards. Shinto [Japan]. A guardian 
deity, one of many in Shintoism, concerned with 
the protection of houses and their environs. 

Asurakumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 
general title of bhvanavasi (dwelling in places). 



Atea 35 



They have a youthful appearance and are associ- 
ated with rain and thunder. 

Asuras 

Sky gods. Hindu (\^cdic). Identified in the open- 
ing of the Rg Veda, they become demonic in later 
Hinduism, the antagonists of the DEVA gods. 

Asvins 

Physician gods. Hindu (Vedic). Twin gods owning 
horses, the sons of ViVASVAN and Saranyu. 
Depicted in a chariot drawn by horses or birds. 
Attributes: book, vessel with herbs and water jar. 

Asvayujau (harnessing horses) 
Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA, or astral deity; 
daughter of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 
Also Asvini and Asvinyau. 

Ataa Naa Nyongmo 

Creator god. Gan [district arotmd Accra, Ghana, 
West Africa]. He engendered the earth and also 
controls the sun and the rain. He causes disasters 
such as epidemics and earthquakes if his laws and 
rites are disobeyed. 

Ataecina 

Local chthonic underworld goddess. Romano- 
Iberian. Known from inscriptions in the Tagus 
region, where the Romans identified her with the 
goddess Proserpina. 

Atargatis 

Mother goddess. Northern Syrian. She enjoyed 

major cults at Khirbet Tannur, where she is 
depicted as the vegetation goddess in nine sepa- 



rate variations, and at Khirbet Brak, where she is 
associated with dolphins. She often carries a cor- 
nucopia linking her with the goddess Tyche (for- 
tune) and may commonly be flanked by lions. She 
sometimes carries a rudder or wears the mural 
crown of a city guardian. There are hints of sky 
affinities in some depictions, with a sign of the 
zodiac or a nimbus-Uke veil. 

Her earliest consort is DUSARA, but in later times 
she is linked with the Syrian storm god Hadad. At 
Dura and Hierapohs (Hera-Atargatis), she tended 
to overshadow Hadad. Atargatis is also a fish god- 
dess depicted like a mermaid and in most of her 
cult centers she enjoyed a sacred lake stocked with 
fish. Statues of Hadad and Hera-Atargatis were 
carried in twice-yearly processions to the sea fi-om 
Hierapolis, and by the third century BC her cult 
had reached Egypt. Greek writers of the Hellenic 
period describe her as a "radiate" goddess, which 
suggests some links with sun symboUsm. 

Also Allat. 

Atarsamain (morning star of heaven) 
Astral deity of uncertain gender. Pre-Islamic 
northern and central Arabian. Worshiped partic- 
ularly by the Isamme tribe, but revered widely 
among other Arabs. Known from circa 800 BC 
and identified in letters of the Assyrian kings 
Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. May be synony- 
mous with the Arab goddess Allat whose cult 
was centered on Palmyra. 

Ate 

Minor goddess of misfortune. Greek. A daughter 
of Zeus, she personifies blind folly leading to 
disaster. 

Atea 

Supreme god. Polynesian. The father of the gods 
depicted as a hybrid, his body divided vertically. 



36 ATEN 



the left half being fishy and the right half of 
human form. In the tradition of the Hervey 
Islands, he is the firstborn son of the primordial 
mother Vari-Ma-Te-Takere. After a short exis- 
tence low down in the world coconut living 
immediately above his mother, he moved to the 
opening of the upper world. He is largely com- 
parable to Tank, the god of light. Also Avatea, 
Vatea, Wakea. 

ATEN (the sun disc) 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Creator sun god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2000 BC until 

late in Egyptian history, but of little influence 

after 1362 BC. 

SYNONYMS Aton. 

center(s) of cult chiefly at Thebes but also at 
Heliopolis, Memphis, el-Amarna and other 
sanctuaries in the Nile valley. 

art references monument at Giza, wall paint- 
ings at Kamak and el-Amarna. 

LITERARY SOURCES various papyri, inscriptions 
and coffin texts. 

Aten, the sun as a disc, was revered as a numen in 
his own right, distinct from Atum or Re, from 
circa 2000 BC and possibly earlier. His influence 
had been growing under several pharaohs includ- 
ing Amenhotep It, Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep 
III, who initiated a cult of Aten at Heliopolis. 
Aten rose to ultimate supremacy for a brief period 
during the reign of Amenhotep IV who renamed 
himself Akhenaten in honor of the god. During 
Akhenaten's reign from 1379 BC Aten became the 
supreme god of Egypt, eclipsing all others. 

The iconography of Aten is very distinctive. It 
began as a winged sun disc with outstretched 
arms, but this was refined into a sun disc embel- 
lished with the uraeus (see Wadjet) and sub- 
tended by thin arms, like the rays of the sun, each 
of which ends in a human hand. Where the latter 



point toward a royal personage they hold the ankh 
symbol of life. The god is never drawn in human 
or animal form. 

Akhenaten first built a sanctuary to Aten adja- 
cent to that of Amun in the Karnak complex at 
Thebes. The main cult center was to the north of 
Thebes on the east bank of the Nile at el-Amarna, 
where a huge sanctuary was constructed. It was 
open to the sky (and the rays of Aten) and the 
main ceremonials took place at dawn. It acted as 
a contentious rival to the cult of Amun-Re at Kar- 
nak, which Akhenaten suppressed. AH the temples 
to Aten were later destroyed, as was most of his 
iconography. Akhenaten ruled from el-Amarna 
for the remainder of his reign. One of his queens, 
Nefertiti, was also a staunch Aten worshiper. 

The elevation of Aten was influenced by politics 
(the strength of the Amun-Re priesthood was 
becoming excessive), and it is notable that Akhen- 
aten alone had access to, or knowledge of, the god. 
Aten worship was also undeniably the result of a 
growing interest in the concept of a single creator 
god and was the first arguable demonstration of 
monotheism. Very Uttle detail of the cult survives. 

Atete 

Fertility goddess. Kafa [Ethiopia, northeastern 
Africa]. She was assimilated into the Christian 
cult of the Virgin Mary, but is probably the sub- 
ject of an ancient fertility rite performed by 
women who collect various sacred plants and 
throw them into the river. The festival is known 
as Astar yo Mariam (Epiphany of Mary). 

ATHENA 

ORIGIN Greek. Goddess of war and patron 

defender of many Greek cities. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC and 

earUer until Christianization (circa AD 400) and 

later. 



Atropos 37 



SYNONYMS Athene; Pallas Athenae (maiden 
goddess of Athens); Minerva (Roman). 

center(s) of cult Athens but also Argos, 
Sparta, Gortyn, Larisa (Thessaly); Lindos and 
lUon (Homer's Troy). 

ART REFERENCES the Parthenon frieze and other 
sculptures and iconography throughout the 
Greek world, including notably the Athena of 
Phidias (Varvakeion) and the metope of Olympia 
in which she assists Herakles to support the sky. 

LITERARY SOURCES Iliad and Odyssey (Homer); 
Theogony and Hymn to Pallas Athene (Hesiod). 

Athena is a principal goddess of the Greek pan- 
theon and, according to Hesiod, the daughter of 
Metis (wisdom) born fully armed from the head 
of Zeus. A goddess of battle and allegedly a snake 
goddess, she is a deity who also stands for disci- 
pline against the more unruly conduct of such as 
Hermes and Poseidon. Her most famed sanctu- 
ary is the Parthenon. The olive tree is sacred to 
her, particularly that grown by tradition on the 
Acropolis, whose oil was given to the victors in 
the Panathenaia festival. According to legend she 
offered the ohve to mankind. Her symbol is the 
aigis — the skin of a sacrificial goat. She is also 
associated with ship-building and with domestic 
crafts including wool work and spinning — 
Athenian women have traditionally woven the 
peplos at the Panathenaia festival. In legend she is 
the destroyer of Ajax and lures Hector to his 
death, while supporting such heroes as Perseus 
against the Gorgon monster, and Diomedes 
against Ares. She also acts as a moderating influ- 
ence in Achilles' conflict with Agamemnon, the 
most notable instance of her characteristic abihty 
for self-control. 

Athirat 

FertiUty goddess. Western Semitic (Canaanite). 
In Old Babylonian texts of Hammurabi she is 



identified as the daughter-in-law of the king of 
heaven. She is also known from pre-Islamic south- 
ern Arabia as a consort of the moon god Amm. 
See also ASERAH. 

Aticandika (exceedingly great) 
Distinct form of the goddess DURGA. Hindu 
(Puranic). One of a group of nine deities, known 
as the "nine durgas." 

Atl 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The sun deity representing the fourth 
of the five world ages each of which lasted for 
2,028 heavenly years, each heavenly year being 
fifty-two terrestrial years. Assigned to water and 
presided over by Chalchiuhtlicue. According 
to tradition, the age ended in a cataclysmic 
destruction caused by a deluge during which all 
the human population were turned into fish. 
Illustrated by the "Stone of the Four Suns" [Yale 
Peabody Museum]. Also 4(Atl), Atonatiuh and 
Chalchiutonatiuh. 

Atlahua 

Alinor god of lakes and fish hunters. Aztec (clas- 
sical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the MixcoatlcamaxtU complex. 

Atropos 

Goddess of fate. Pre-Homeric Greek. According 
to Hesiod, one of the daughters of Zeus and 
Themis. One of an ancient trio of MoiRAl with 
Lachesis and Klotho. She is responsible for the 
final part of a mortal Hfe, the unturning inevitabil- 
ity of death, and she is depicted holding a pair of 
scales. The name of the plant Atropa belladonna 
(deadly nightshade) derives from her. 



38 Attar 



Attar 

God of the morning star. Western Semitic. In 
Canaanlte legend, he attempts to usurp the dead 
Baal but proves inadequate to fill the god's 
throne. In semi-arid regions of western Asia 
where irrigation is essential, he was sometimes 
worshiped as a rain god. His female counterpart 
is the Phoenician ASTARTE. Also probably identi- 
fied as Dhu-Samani in more southerly regions. 

ATns 

ORIGIN Phrygia [northwestern Turkey] . Vegeta- 
tion god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC and 

probably earUer until circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none specific. 

center(s) of cult Anatolian region and later 
throughout Greek and Roman areas of culture. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures and reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Roman writers, especially 
Virgil. 

Attis is a "dying and rising" fertility god modeled 
on the Mesopotamian DuMUZi. He is considered 
to have originated as a shepherd. In alternative 
traditions, Kybele, the "great mother," is either 
his mother or purely his consort. Another legend 
suggests he was conceived immaculately by the 
demigoddess Nana when she placed a ripe 
almond in her bosom. According to one legend 
he met his death gored by a wild boar. In a more 
popular alternative, he castrated himself tinder a 
pine tree to offer his vitality to Kybele. 

The latter legend became enshrined in spring 
rites during which Greek, and later Roman, priests 
(Galli) wearing effeminate costumes castrated 
themselves or gashed themselves with knives and 
offered blood sacrifices to the goddess by burying 
them in the earth. The main center of cult was at 
Pessinus (Phrygia). The cult was brought to Rome 
in 204 BC; when the stone s)'mbolizing the presence 
of Cybele (the Roman version of her name) was 



carried from Pessinus and installed in the Temple 
of Victory on the Palatine Hill. The day sacred to 
Attis was March 22 when a pine tree was carried 
into the Temple of Cybele and decorated with 
flowers and models of Attis. In Christian times the 
Easter festival took over the date of the Attis rites. 

Atua Fafine 

Creator being. Polynesian [Tikopia]. One of a 
pair with Atua I Raropuka when the land of 
Tikopia was pulled up from the bottom of the 
ocean. They may have been there from the out- 
set, or arrived on the back of a turtle from foreign 
parts. They engendered five sons, all gods. 

Atua I Kafika 

Supreme god. Polynesian [Tikopia]. Regarded as 
an intercessor rather than as ultimate creator or 
controller. 

Atua I Raropuka 

Creator being. Polynesian [Tikopia]. One of a 
pair with Atua Fafine when the land of Tikopia 
was pulled up from the bottom of the ocean. 
They may have been there from the outset, or 
arrived on the back of a turtle from foreign parts. 
They engendered five sons, all gods. 

ATUM 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Sun god and creator god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Old Kingdom 

(circa 2700 BC) to end of Egyptian history (circa 

AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Atum-Re. 
center(s) OF CULT Heliopolis. 
ART REFERENCES wall paintings particularly in 

New Kingdom tombs in the Valley of the Kings 

(Thebes), votive inscriptions, contemporary 

sculpture. 



Avatea 39 



LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts; coffin texts; 
Book of the Dead, etc. 

Atum is one of several interpretations of the 
major creator god of Eg)^t whose company is 

the product of a fragmented pre-Dynastic tribal 
history. Atum shared Heliopohs with another sun 
god, Re and eventually became joined with him as 
Atum-Re or Re-Atum. The god was self-created 
from the primeval ocean and by masturbating he 
produced the next two great deities of the Egypt- 
ian cosmos, Su and Tefnut, who also constitute 
the beginnings of the pantheon of nine Heliopo- 
hs deities, the Ennead. Atum is generally repre- 
sented in human form and often wears a crown 
which combines those of Upper and Lower 
Egypt. He is represented as various animals 
including the bull, lion, snake and hzard. Atum 
was regarded as the progenitor of the Egyptian 
pharaohs. 

Both Atum and Re are represented by a divine 
black buU, Mnevis or Mer-wer, wearing the sun 
disc and uraeus or snake between its horns. It acts 

as an intercessor between the sun god and his 
priests in Hehopohs. 

Atunis 

God. Etruscan. Known from circa 3 50 BC onward 
in local inscriptions. 
See also Adonis. 

Aufaniae 

Collective name for a group of mother goddesses. 
Celtic (Continental European). Known only from 
votive inscriptions and largely restricted to the 
Rhineland. 

Aurora 

Goddess of the dawn. Roman. Derived from the 
Greek deity Eos. 



Auseklis (morning star) 
Minor astral god. Pre-Christian Latvian. An 
attendant of the sun god, linked with fertihty and 
involved in the activity of the heavenly bath house. 

AVALOKITESVARA (merciful lord) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. Bodhisattva or buddha- 
designate. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC tO 

present. 

SYNONYMS nineteen other forms hsted. 
center(s) OF CULT pan-Asiatic. 
ART references metal and stone sculptures, 
paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamala and Tantric rit- 
ual texts. 

One of the most important deities of the Mahayana 
sect of Buddhism. In Lamaism he is the mtelary 
god of Tibet. He equates with ViSNU in Hinduism 
and bears links with Padmapam. In cosmic mythol- 
ogy he is a creator deity. His Sakti is Pandara and 
his attendant animal is a lion. Many forms of Aval- 
okitesvara exist which may include varieties with up 
to eleven heads, sometimes arranged in a pyramid. 
Color: white or red. Attributes: blue lotas, image of 
Amitabha (topmost pyramidal head), lotus, rosary, 
sword and water jar. 

NOTE: in Chinese Buddhism he is represented 
by the goddess Kuan-Tin, and in Japanese by 
Kwannon. 

Avatea 

Moon god. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. The 
firstborn offspring of the great mother Vari-Ma- 
Te-Takere and the elder sibling of Tinirau. 
According to tradition, Vari-Ma-Te-Takere 
plucked a piece from her right side to engender 
Avatea, who is half man, half fish. He is divided 
vertically with his left side fishy and his right side 
human. He is the father of gods and humankind. 



40 Aveta 



and is said to live in the coconut of the world. 
After a temporary period existing low down in 
the shell, he was assigned to the opening of the 
upper world, immediately above the home of 
Tinirau. Also Vatea; Wakea (Hawaiian). 

Aveta 

Goddess of birth and midwifery. Romano-Celtic 
(Gallic). Known mainly from clay figurines fotmd 
at Tbulon-sur-Alher, France. The models show the 
goddess with infants at the breast and apparently 
she is concerned especially with nursing mothers. 
The figure is often accompanied by a small lapdog. 

Avrikiti 

Grod of fishermen. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. Stat- 
ues of this deity, in a sitting position, were placed 
on the beaches and fishermen and local elders 
sacrificed to them annually to ensure a good sea- 
son of catches. 

Awonawilona 

Creator god. Pueblo Indian (Zimi) [Mesoamer- 
ica]. The androgynous creator of heaven and 
earth and of all life, which he engendered by toss- 
ing pieces of his skin into the primeval ocean. 

Axo-Mama 

Goddess of potato crops. South American Indian 
[Peru] . A model of this minor deity was made out 
of parts of the plant as a harvest fetish and kept for 
a year before being burned in a ritual to ensure a 
good potato harvest. 

Aya 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Derived from the Sumerian model of 



Serida. Consort of the sun god Samas whose 
marriage was celebrated at New Year in Babylon. 

Ayaba 

Hearth goddess. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. The 
sister of LOKO, god of the trees, whose wood is 
burned in the home to cook food. 

Ayi'-Uru'n Toyo'n (lord bright creator) 
Creator spirit. Yakut [central Siberia]. 
See also Uru'n Ajy Toyo'n. 

Ayiyanayaka 

Plague god. Singhalese [Sri Lanka]. A deity of 
fields and woodlands who is still revered as a 
guardian of crops and a protector against plague. 

Ayurvasita (control of life) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 

twelve Vasitas or goddesses personifying the 
disciplines of spiritual regeneration. Color: 
whitish red. Attributes: image of Amidabuddha 
and jewel. 

Ayyappan 

Local god of growth. Hindu. Particularly recog- 
nized in the Kerala region. 

Azizos 

Astral tutelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Ara- 
bian. Locally worshiped at Palmyra, where he 
personifies the morning star, in company with his 
brother Arsu, who is the evening star. Associated 
with horses or camels. He was also venerated sep- 
arately in Syria as god of the morning star, in 
company with the astral god Monimos. 



B 



Ba (1) 

Goddess of drought. Chinese. She is identified 
in some texts as the daughter of the god HUANG 
Tl. 

Ba (2) 

Ram god. Egyptian (Lower). A fertility 
deity from early in Egyptian religion invoked 
particularly at Mendes. In a later cult, the 
name ba comes to represent the spirituality of a 
deity, often represented in an animal, e.g. the 
bull, or the mortal manifestation of a god as 
pharaoh. 

Ba Xian 

Collective name for gods. Taoist (Chinese). A 
group of eight divine beings, once mortal, 
who achieved immortality through their 
exemplary lifestyles. There are many such 
groups in Chinese religious belief. The Ba 
Xian are probably the most widely revered. 
Many people carry amulets and other charms 
in the form of the symbols of these deities. 
The eight gods are Cao Guo-jiu; Han Xiang- 
ZI; He XIAN-GU; LAN CaI-HE; LI TiE-GUAI; LU 
DONG-BIN; ZhANG GUO-LAO; and ZhONG-Li 
QUAN. 



BAAL (lord) 

ORIGIN Western Semitic (Canaanite) [northern 
Israel, Lebanon and later Egyptian]. Vegetation 
deity and national god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2000 BC or 
earlier to 200 BC. 

SYNONYMS Aliyn Baal; Hadad. 

center(s) of cult Ugarit [Ras Samra and 
Jebel el Aqra]; Asdod during Philistine period. 
Otherwise generally down the corn-bearing 
coastal plain of the eastern Mediterranean, 
including Baal-Hazor, Baal-Sidon and Baal- 
Tyre [Lebanon]. Memphis [Egypt]. 

ART REFERENCES a Stele from Ras Samra has a 
seated god with bull horns which is thought to 
be either Baal or II; a model calf recentiy dis- 
covered there may also symbolize Baal. 

LITERARY SOURCES Ugaritic creation texts from 
Ras Samra, particularly the legends of Baal and 
Anat and Baal and MOT; Vetus Testamentum. 

Baal may have originated in pre-agri cultural times 
as god of storms and rain. He is the son of Dagan 
and in turn is the father of seven storm gods, the 
Baalim of the Vetus Testamentum, and seven mid- 
wife goddesses, the Sasuratum. He is considered 
to have been worshiped from at least the nine- 
teenth century BC. Later he became a vegetation 
god concerned with fertility of the land. Baal is 



41 



42 Baal Malage 



said to have gained his kingship in primeval times 
wrested, with the help of weapons made by divine 
craftsmen (see also Othin), from the powers of 
chaos in the form of the sea and the river tyran- 
nies, or more specifically the god Yamm. 

Baal lives in a vast and opulent palace on a 
mountain called Sapan. Old connotations of a 
weather god remain in the texts which describe 
the voice of Baal as being like thunder, and a hole 
in the floor of his palace through which he waters 
the earth. According to one text his servants are 
in the form of seven pages and eight boars, all of 
which, like his daughters, PiDRAY daughter of 
mist and Tallay daughter of showers, probably 
have a fertility function. Sister of the goddess 
Anat, he reflects the confrontation theme, first 
established in ancient Near Eastern religions, of 
a god constantly and energetically engaged with 
the forces of disorder. It is a combat that causes 
his temporary ill- fortune but from which, annu- 
ally, he emerges triumphant. Baal is said to have 
sired a bull calf, the guarantee of his power in 
absence, before descending to the underworld to 
challenge the forces of chaos in the form of the 
god Mot (see also Inana/Istar); he dies, is 
restored through the efforts of Anat and in the 
seventh year kills Mot (VT Exodus 23.10-11 
describes six years of harvest followed by a sev- 
enth year in which the land must lie fallow). Vic- 
tory was celebrated at the autumn festival of New 
Year in the month of Tisri pending the arrival of 
the rains. Baal-zebul (FT) derives from Baal and 
zbl meaning prince. 

Erom the mid-sixteenth century BC in the 
Egyptian New Kingdom, Baal enjoyed a signifi- 
cant cult following, but the legend of his demise 
and restoration was never equated with that of 
Osiris. 

In the Greco-Roman period, Baal became 
assimilated in the Palestine region with Zeus and 
JUPrrER, but as a Punic deity [Carthage] he was 
alUed with Saturnus, the god of seed-sowing. 



Baal Malage 

Local totelary god. Western Semitic (Phoenician). 
Probably of Canaanite origin, closely equating with 
Baal Samin and known only from inscriptions. 

Baal Samin (lord of heaven) 
Head of the pantheon. Western Semitic (Phoeni- 
cian). Probably originated in Canaanite culture as 
a god of rain and vegetation, but became exten- 
sively revered in places as far apart as Cyprus and 
Carthage. Epithets include "bearer of thunder." 
Baal Samin is first mentioned in a fourteenth cen- 
tury BC treaty between the Hittite king Suppiluli- 
uma and Nigmadu 11 of Ugarit. He had a major 
sanctaary at Byblos, according to inscription, "built 
by Yehemilk." Josephus confirms that his cult 
existed at the time of Solomon. At Karatepe his 
name appears at the head of a list of national deities 
and on Seleucid coinage he is depicted wearing a 
half-moon crown and carrying a radiate sun disc. 
Other epithets include "lord of eternity" and he 
may also have been god of storms at sea, a patron 
deity of mariners. By Hellenic times he equated 
with Zeus in the Greek pantheon and the Romans 
identified him as Caelus (sky). Also Baal-Samem. 

Baal Sapon 

Local tutelary god. Western Semitic (Phoenician). 

Probably of Canaanite origin and closely equating 
with Baal Samin. According to Ugaritic texts he 
lives on a mountain in the north of Phoenicia 
known as Saphan, which may have served as a bea- 
con for mariners. Other local variations of motm- 
tain deities include Baal Hermon and Baal Brathy. 

Baba 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). Locally worshiped in 
Lagas, where Gudea built her a temple. Also Bau. 



Bagala 43 



Babi 

Malevolent god. Egyptian. Known from as early 
as the Old Kingdom (circa 2700 BC). Babi is 
seen as a violent and hostile deity whose pres- 
ence can be highly dangerous during the cere- 
mony of the Weighing of the Heart in the Hall 
of the Two Truths (see also Ammut). Con- 
versely he can also act in a protective capacity. 
Closely associated with sexual virility in the 
underworld, Babi is ithyphallic. A god active in 
the darkness, his penis serves variously as the 
mast on the underworld ferry boat, and the bolt 
on heaven's doors. Depicted as an ithyphallic 
male baboon. 

Bacabs 

Attendant gods. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Four deities identified with points of 
the compass and colors, thus Hobnil (red) resides 
in the east. Can Tzicnal (white) in the north, Zac 
Cimi (black) in the west and Hozanek (yellow) in 
the south. They are also identified as the TbUloch 
(opossum actors) in the Codex Dresden, where 
each carries the image of the ruhng god for the 
incoming year on his back. Hobnil is also a patron 
deity of beekeepers. 

Bacax 

Local god. Roman-North African. A rare exam- 
ple of a named deity from this region, thought to 
have been worshiped as a cave god. Known from 
inscription at Cirta [Constantine]. 

BACCHUS 

ORIGIN Roman. God of wine and intoxication. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC tO 
AD 400. 

SYNONYMS LiBER; DiONYSOS (Greek). 
center(s) of ctiLT throughout Roman world. 



ART REFERENCES sculptures and reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ameid (Virgil) etc. 

Bacchus is modeled closely on the Greek god 
DiONYSOS. In Roman mythology his parents are 

Jupiter and Semele, the daughter of Kadmos, who 
became deified only after her death by fire on 
Olympus. Bacchus grew up through childhood with 
a wet-nurse Ino (Leukothea). As a youth he was 
entrusted to the satyr Silenus. He is depicted as a 
youthful figure wearing an ivy or grape crown and 
carrying a wand or thymis. He is also frequendy 
drawn riding in a chariot pulled by leopards. 

As god of wine and intoxication, his court 
includes the female Bacchantes, nymphs, fauns 
and satyrs. Bacchus was worshiped extensively 
and commanded a number of festivals including 
the Liheralia and Bacchanalia. These possess 
strongly phalUc coimotations and on occasions 
the god was represented by a model phallus. 

Badb 

War goddess. Celtic (Irish). One of the aspects of 
the MORRIGAN. Capable of changing shape at 
will. She confronts the Irish hero Cu Chulainn 
before a battle and terrifies him by turning into 
Badb Catha, the crow and harbinger of death. 

Badi Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu [northern Indian]. A 
Sakti and one of the seven Saptamataras 
(mothers) who in later Hinduism became 
regarded as of evil intent, attacking children 
during puberty. Particularly recognized in Bengal. 

Bagala (power of cruelty) 
Goddess. Hindu. One of a group of ten 
Mahavidyas personifying the Sakti of Siva. 
Aspects include ViRARATRI. 



44 Bagba 



Bagba 

Animistic spirit. West African. Fetish who 
allegedly controls the wind and rain and 
whose shaman keeps the winds locked in a 
huge pot. 

Bagisht 

God of flood waters and prosperity. Kafir 
[Afghanistan]. The son of the supreme goddess 
DiSANi, conceived when she was raped from 
behind by an obscure demonic entity in the shape 
of a ram who violated her while she was milking 
cows by a lakeside. Bagisht is said to have been 
born in the current of the Prasun river where- 
upon the turbulent waters became smooth-flow- 
ing and parted to allow the infant to reach the 
bank. There seem to have been no elaborate sanc- 
tuaries but rather an abundance of simple shrines 
always placed close to water. The god was cele- 
brated at the main festivals of the Kafir agricul- 
tural year and received sacrificial portions of 
meat. Also Opkulu. 

Bagvarti 

Tutelary goddess. Urartian [Armenia] . The con- 
sort of the creator god Haldi. 

BAIAME 

ORIGIN Austrahan aboriginal. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from antiquity. 

SYNONYMS Biame, Byamee 

Baiame is a creator god, revered as the supreme 
being and instrument of good, principally by the 
Wiradyuri and Kamilaroi groups of aborigines 
in the southeast of Australia. His chief consort 
is generally referred to as BiRRAHGNOOLOO. His 
voice is represented when the "bull roarer" 
native instrument is swung and, according to 



mythology, he first created animals during the 
Dreamtime and then gathered them all together 
in order to select various of their characteris- 
tics, which he incorporated into human beings. 
He fashioned two men and a woman from 
the red earth of Australia, showed them the 
plants that they could eat with safety and created 
laws for them to follow. He is the father of 
Daraaiulum and is identified in the heavens 
by the Southern Cross. In other aboriginal 
traditions he is known as Twanyrika. 

Bala (girl) 

1. Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 
Of vague affinity but generally of youthful 
appearance. Seated upon a lotus throne. Attrib- 
utes: book and rosary. 

2. Messenger goddess. Jain [India]. One of the 
twenty-four Sasanadevatas. 

Balakrsna 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Krsna in child 
form (see Krsna). 

Balam (jaguar) 

Guardian deities. Mayan (Yucatec, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Poorly defined spirits 
who protect individuals in daily life. Eour balam 
stand at the cardinal points around a village to 
guard against dangerous animals. They also pro- 
tect the four sides of a milpa (smallholding) 
against thieves. 

Balaparamita (peifection of strength) 
Philosophical deity. Buddhist. One of a group 
of twelve Paramitas. Spiritual offspring of 
Ratnasambhava. Color: red. Attributes: book 
and banner with jewel. 



Baltis 45 



Balarama (strength of Rama) 
Incarnation of die god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). May have originated in Vedic times as an 
agricultural fertility deity. He is the son of 
Vasudeva and Devaki, though born from the 
womb of ROHINI. Jointly with Krsna (his brother), 
he is identified as the eighth avatara (incarnation) 
of Visnu, or, with Rama, as the seventh. Legend 
describes how Visnu impregnated the belly of the 
goddess Devaki with two hairs, one black, one 
white, lb ensure their safety against a demon king, 
they were transferred before birth to Rohini. Krsna 
grew to be dark-skinned, and Balarama light. The 
latter enjoys similar characteristics to Krsna but 
fails to attract the same popularity. He is usually 
depicted on the right side of Krsna, rarely standing 
alone. The consort of Balarama is Revati and his 
sons are Nisatha and Ulmuka. Epithets included 
Ananda (joy). In Jainism he is known as Baladeva. 
Attributes: arrow, club, drinking cup, fan palm, 
honey pot, lotus, pesde, pitcher, plough, prayer 
wheel, shield and sword. 

Bala-Sakti 

Goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern India]. 
Youthful deity who presides over six Cakras or 
prayer wheels. Often accompanied by a geomet- 
ric magical diagram or y antra. Attributes: book, 
hook, noose and rosary. 

BALDER Qord) 

ORIGIN Icelandic (Nordic). The dying god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP AD 700 (possibly ear- 

her) through to Christianization (circa AD 11 00). 
SYNONYMS Baldr; Baldaeg (Anglo-Saxon). 
center(s) of cult \mknown. 
ART references stone carvings. 
literary soltrces Icelandic codices; Prose 

Edda (Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo), runic 

inscriptions. 



Balder is the spodess "good" god, the "shining 
one," Othin's favored second son. He lives in a 
hall named Breidabhk. He is the father of the god 
FORSETI. According to Snorri's account, Balder 
was made invulnerable to injury or death by his 
mother Frigg who had extracted a promise from 
"all things" not to harm him. She had omitted the 
misdetoe as being too small and insignificant and 
so, using the blind god Hoder as his instrument, 
LOKi caused Balder's death by guiding Hoder's 
hand and turning a sprig of mistletoe into a 
lethal dart. 

Saxo, in contrast, defines Balder as a warrior 
slain by a magic sword in a batde of jealous rivalry 
between him and Hoder for the hand of the god- 
dess Nanna. There are separate suggestions that 
Balder traveled the road to the underworld ruled 
by Hel in company with many other slain war- 
riors, implying that he met his death in a wider 
combat. 

There is no evidence of a Germanic precedent 
for Balder and he is probably of purely Norse 
extraction. Attempts have been made to cast him 

as a copy of Christ but these seem wholly 
unfounded. It is also impossible to relate Balder to 
the dying and rising gods found in other religions 
(DUMUZI, Telepinu, Osiris, etc.), since there is 
no suggestion of his return from Hel's kingdom of 
the dead, though there is an imphcation that he 
will be released by Hel at Ragnarok. 

Bali 

Demonic god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The 
son of Virocana, his power was removed by ViSNU 
in his avatara of Vamana. 

Baltis 

Local goddess. Pre-Islamic Arabian. Known from 
Carrhae in western Mesopotamia and identified 
as the apotheosis of the planet Venus. 



46 Banba 



Banba 

Fertility goddess. Celtic (Irish). One of the 
aspects of the MORRIGAN. A name of the "Sover- 
eignty of Ireland" to whom the king was married 
in symbolic ceremony. Also a goddess of war 
capable of changing shape from girl to hag, and 
into birds and animals. 
See also Badb, Eriu, Fodla, Medb and Maeve. 

Banebdjedet 

Ram god. Egyptian (Lower). Possibly concerned 
with arbitration, his consort is the fish goddess 
Hatmehyt. He is the father of Harpokrates. 
According to tradition (Chester Beatty I papyrus) 
he was called upon to intercede in the contest for 
the Egyptian kingdoms between HORUS and 
Seth. He is placed in some accounts in Upper 
Egypt on the island of Seheil at the first Nile 
cataract, but his cult is centered on Mendes in 
the Delta region of Lower Egypt [Tell et-Ruba] 
and is closely linked with the mother of Rameses 
III. He is generally depicted in anthropomorphic 
form, but with the head of a ram. 

Banga 

God of clear waters. Ngbandi [northern Democ- 
ratic Republic of Congo and Central African 
Republic]. One of seven gods invoked at day- 
break, the creator deity of white-skinned people. 

Bangputys 

Sea god. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. Known as the 
"god who blows the waves." 

Ba-Pef 

Chthonic underworld god. Egyptian. An obscure 
malevolent deity known from the Old Kingdom 
(circa 2700 BC) in which he may have enjoyed a 
priesthood. According to limited references 



among the Pyramid Texts, he had a cult following 

and was associated in some way with pain or spir- 
itual anguish affecting the king. 

Baphomet 

A medieval deity allegedly worshiped in secret by 
the Knights Templar, Baphomet is known from 
the fourteenth century or possibly earlier. The 
name may be a corruption of the Islamic founder 
and prophet, Mahomet, but its etymology 
remains unclear. Described by its critics as a 
source and initiator of evil, some authorities have 
placed the idol of Baphomet at the center of ini- 
tiation and other magical rituals once practiced by 
the Templars. In part it was this tradition that 
brought charges of heresy against the Templars at 
the end of the thirteenth and start of the four- 
teenth centuries, after which they fell into dis- 
grace. The precise nature of any idolatory is 
unknown, though there are unsubstantiated 
claims that the image was modeled androgy- 
nously on that of Artemis of Ephesus. 

The image of Baphomet was romanticized dur- 
ing the nineteenth century by the German anti- 
quarian Josef von Hammer-Purgstall. In a 
publication entitled Mysterium Baphometis Revela- 
tum he gave the deity the form either of a severed 
head with two faces, bearded or unshaven, or of a 
black cat. The bearded figure is depicted in the 
church of St. Merri in Paris. Alternative imagery 
has been of an androgynous Satanic goat sitting 
astride the world with a flaming torch located 
between the horns, a star above the eyes, female 
breasts, a reptilian belly surmounted by snakes 
and goat-hke hoofs. This imagery was depicted by 
the nineteenth-century romantic interpreter of 
occultism Eliphas Levi, and Baphomet was 
adopted subsequently as the tutelary deity of the 
quasi-magical Ordo TempU Orientis organization 
founded by the twentieth-century English 
occultist Aleister Crowley. 



Beg-Tse 47 



Barastar 

Chthonic underworld god. Ossetian [Caucasus 
region]. The judge of souls, directing them either 
to paradise or to oblivion. 

Barsamin 

Weather or sky god. Pre-Christian Armenian. 
Probably derived from the Semitic god Baal 
Samin. 



Basamum 

God of heahng. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. 
The name probably derives from the remedial 
plant balsam. 

BASTET 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Feline goddess associated with 

the vengeance of the sun god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2700 BC to 

the end of Egyptian history (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF CULT Bubastis in the Delta region 

of Lower Egypt and probably at the Karnak 

temple complex in Upper Egypt. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures, wall paintings, 

papyrus illustrations. 
LITERARY SOURCES Middle Kingdom coffin 

texts etc. 

Bastet is the daughter of the sun god Re and is 
regarded as his instrument of vengeance, the "rage 
in his eye." Alternatively she is the eldest daugh- 
ter of Amun. She has a son, the lion-headed god 
MlHOS. 

Texts recounting battles may describe the 
pharaoh's enemies being slaughtered Hke the vic- 
tims of Bastet. Thus she is first depicted as a 
Uoness, and then in the guise of a cat from circa 
1000 BC onward when she becomes more peace- 



able in character. The cat was considered sacred 
to her and cat cemeteries, containing mummified 
animals, have been found at various sites. Her 
name involves the hieroglyph for a sealed 
alabaster jar containing perfume. In the sanctuary 
of Khafre at Giza, her name is engraved on the 
facade with that of the goddess Hathor, sym- 
bolizing the protectresses of north and south 
respectively. In Hellenic times she is partly syn- 
cretized with ARTEMIS. 

Bat 

Cow goddess of fertility. Egyptian (Upper). She 
was probably well knovm in the Old Kingdom 
(circa 2700 BC onward). Associated principally 
with Upper Egypt, for a while she may have 
rivaled Hathor in Lower Egypt but by the time of 
the New Kingdom (sixteenth century BC) her 
influence had waned. She may be represented on 
the Narmer Palette (Cairo Museum) which com- 
memorates the unification of the two kingdoms. 
Bat is only rarely found in large sculptures and 
paintings, but is often the subject of Egyptian 
period jewelry, including amulets and ritual 
sistrum rattles. Depicted as a cow or anthropo- 
morphically with bovine ears and horns. Also Bata. 

Baubo 

Mother goddess. Western Semitic (Syrian). 
Known locally from Priene and largely became 
syncretized vnth AtargATIS, Kybele, etc. 

Beg-Tse (concealed coat of mail) 
God of war. Buddhist and Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of a group of eight Dharmapala with terrible 
appearance and royal attire. Stands with one foot 
on a horse and one on a man. Color: red. Attrib- 
utes: banner, fire, skin and sword. May appear 
vwth three eyes. Also Cam-srin. 



48 Behanzin 



Behanzin 

Fish god. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. Invoked by 
fishermen to ensure plentiful catches. 

Bel 

Generic title meaning "lord." Mesopotamian 
(Babylonian-Akkadian). The Babylonian god 
MarduK was often addressed as Bel, and the 
name occurs in the Vettis Testamentum. The New 
Year festival of akitu in Babylon included a cere- 
mony of "leading Bel by the hand." The name also 
appears at Palmyra as the tutelary creator god 
whose attributes include Hghtning and an eagle. 

Belatucadros 

War god. Celtic (British). According to some 
authors he is the horned god of the north equat- 
ing to Cerntjnnos. The Romans syncretized 
him with the god Mars. 

BELENUS 

ORIGIN Celtic (Continental European and prob- 
ably Irish). Pastoral deity concerned with light, 
solar worship and healing. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 
until Christianization (circa AD 400) and in 
some circumstances much later. 

SYNONYMS Apollo Belenus; Bile (Irish). 

center(s) of cult mainly sanctuaries in north- 
ern Italy (Aquileia) and southwestern Gaul 
(Aquitaine). 

ART references horse statuettes; stone carvings 
and reliefs. 

literary sources Books of Invasions; Cycles of 
Kings; Roman writers — ^Tertullian, Herodian, 
Ausonius; votive inscriptions. 

Considered to be one of the oldest of the Celtic 
gods thus far recognized. Celebrated long into the 



Christian era in the festival of Beltine or Cetshatmin, 
set on May 1, the start of the "warm season." The 
rites involved Hghting huge bonfires and driving 
cattle between them as a protection against disease. 
It marked the season when cattle were liberated 
after winter to graze the open pastures. 

Belenus bears many similarities with the Greek 
deity Apollo as a god of Hght, sun and healing. 
Though appearing more often as a purely Celtic 
god, he was sometimes worshiped as Apollo 
Belenus, for example at the thermal spring 
sanctuary at St. Sabine [Cote d'Or], and in this 
guise became associated with horses which are 
well-attested as sun symbols in the Celtic Bronze 
Age. Model horses were found at the Gaul site. 
Ausonius, a fourth century poet from the Bor- 
deaux region, mentions Belenus sanctuaries in 
Aquitaine. TertuUian refers to them in Austria, 
Herodian places others in northern Italy. 

Belet-Di (lady of the gods) 
Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Known in Babylon and probably mod- 
eled on NinhursaGa. 

Belet-Seri 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Mesopotamian 
(Babylonian-Akkadian). The recorder of the dead 
entering the otherworld. Known as the "Scribe of 
the Earth." 

Belili 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- Akkadian). 
See Gestin-Ana. 

Bella Pennu 

Sun god. Indian (Khond). A local deity in the 
Orissa province synonymous with BOORA Pennu. 



BES 49 



Bellona 

Mother goddess and goddess of war. Roman. She 
becomes syncretized with the Cappadocian 
mother goddess Ma. The first known temple 
dedicated to Ma-Bellona by the Romans is dated 
to 296 BC. Bellona was attended by Asiatic priests 
who performed frenzied dances and gashed 
themselves with swords, offering the blood on the 
goddess's altars. Because of its violent nature, 
Rome refused officially to recognize the cult until 
the third century AD. 

Beltiya (my lady) 

Generic title of goddess. Mesopotamian (Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). Zarpanitum (Sarpanitum), 
the consort of the Babylonian god Marduk, is 
often addressed as Beltiya. 

Bendis 

Mother goddess. Thracian. Hellenized and linked 
stylistically with Artemis as a huntress. Appeared 
in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Attrib- 
utes: boots, torch and pointed cap. 

Benten-San 

Goddess of luck. Shinto [Japan]. One of seven 
deities classed as gods of fortune and the only god- 
dess in the group. A popular deity with many sanc- 
tuaries dedicated to her, she is a patron of music 
and holds a hhxia instrument in her hand. Snakes, 
believed to stand for jealousy, are often coiled 
around her statues. Because of this, married cou- 
ples are reluctant to visit her shrines together. Her 
priesthood is both Shinto and Buddhist and she is 
closely linked with the goddess Sarasvati. 

Benu 

Transmuted bird-like form of a sun god. Egypt- 
ian (Upper). A deity mentioned in Pyramid Texts 



(circa twenty-fifth century BC) and linked with 
the sun god of Heliopolis, Atum. He is also said 
to have been self-created from the primeval ocean 
and is sometimes a symbol of rebirth in the after- 
Ufe. Benu may have augmented the Greek classi- 
cal tradition of the Phoenix. He appears in the 
Old Kingdom as a yellow wagtail but later 
becomes a heron, wearing the conical white 
crown of Upper Egypt with two slender feathers 
pointing backwards from its crest. 

Bera Pennu 

Vegetation goddess. Northern Indian. Wor- 
shiped by the Khonds in Bengal. She was the 
recipient of human sacrifice to ensure good har- 
vest, particularly of the spice turmeric, and as a 
protection against disease and infirmity. The sac- 
rificial victim or meriah was youthful, often kept 
for years as a holy person before death and was 
always either the offspring of a previous sacrifi- 
cial victim, or purchased from impoverished fam- 
ilies for the purpose. He or she was generally 
strangled, sometimes in the fork of a tree, after 
days of festivities. In other instances the victim 
was cut up alive. 

BES 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Guardian deity of women in 

labor. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP appearing in art 
from circa 1500 BC and probably earher, until 
the end of Egyptian history circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult no specific sanctuaries, but a 
household god and generally associated with 
birthplaces, including those of royalty. 

ART REFERENCES walls of temples at Thebes; 
curved ivory batons from Middle Period; walls 
of birth houses. 

LITERARY SOURCES none significant. 



50 Bethel 



A dwarfish and hideous, but essentially benign 
deity whose ugliness wards off evil. He is generally 
present at births exerting a protective influence. 
Bes appears with a large-bearded and barely 
human face, a thick body, short arms and short 
bandy legs. He wears a plumed crown and often 
wdelds a short sword. He possesses a Hon's mane, 
ears, tail and usually has his mouth open and 
tongue protruding. As a god of birth, Bes often 
carries the SA symbol of protection. He is also 
sometimes drawn as a musician with a tambourine. 

Bes was adopted by Greco-Roman culture. The 
Greeks depicted him in strongly ithyphallic guise 
with a disproportionately large and erect penis 
and, from the time of the Roman occupation, he 
appears in the mode of a soldier wearing a short 
military tunic. 

Bethel 

Local tutelary god. Western Semitic (Phoenician). 
Probably of Aramaean or Syrian origin. First men- 
tioned in a fourteenth century treaty between the 
Hittite king Suppiluliuma and Nigmadu II of 
Ugarit [Ras Samra]. He appears more regularly on 
inscriptions from the end of the seventh century BC 
and enjoyed considerable popularity during the 
neo-Babylonian period. Bethel is mentioned in the 
Biblical text of Jeremiah 48. 1 3 , implying that some 
IsraeUtes acknowledged this deity. There is no evi- 
dence of links with the historical place names, 
including that mentioned in Genesis 38.13. 

Bhadra (auspicious) 

Minor goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Atten- 
dant of Siva. Generally seated. Attributes: blue 
lotus, fruit, rosary and trident. 

Bhaga (the dispenser of fortune) 

Minor sun god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). 

In Vedic times, the incarnation of women's 



good fortune in marriage. One of six Adityas, 
sons of the goddess Aditi. Consort: Siddhi. 
Attributes: two lotuses, prayer wheel and 
trident. 

Bhagavan (the lord) 

Tutelary god. Northern and central Indian. 
Worshiped by the Bhils and other tribes as the 
original creator spirit and a judge of the dead 
soul. Also an epithet of ViSNU and Krsna. Also 
Bhagwan. 

Bhairava (terrible) 

Minor frightful form of the god SiVA. Hindu 
(Puranic and later). Guardian deity of doorways. 
A so-called ugra aspect, generally depicted in sim- 
ilar style to Siva but with up to five heads and ten 
arms and said to have been born from Siva's 
blood. Attributes: hook and noose. Aspects and 
epithets include Kalaratri, KSETRAPALA and 
Mahakala. Also Bhairon, Unked with the cult of 
dogs and Bhairava, one of a group of 
Mahavidyas personifying the Sakti of Siva. 

Bhaisajyaguru (supreme physician) 
Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among one of a series of medicine 
buddhas known as a sMan-Bla in Tibet. In 
Lamaism he is the fifth in a series of manusibud- 
dhas. Typically depicted with stretched earlobes 
and a row of small curls fringing the forehead. 
Color: blue or gold. Attributes: fruit, sometimes 
with a bowl. 

Bharani (bearing) 

Minor goddess of misfortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A malevolent NAKSATRA, daughter 
of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). Also 
Apabharanis. 



Bhutadamara 5 1 



Bharat Mata (Mother India) 
Mother goddess. Modern Hindu. Evolved from 
the writings of the nineteenth century Bengah, 
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Shrines are 
designed in the form of a map of India. 

Bharati 

Minor goddess of sacrifices. Hindu (Vedic, Epic 
and Puranic). She is invoked to appear on the sac- 
rificial field before a ritual. Usually associated 
with the goddess Sarasvati. Also regarded as a 
consort of Ganesa. 

Bhavanavasi 

Gods. Jain [India]. A generic name given to 
deities of youthful appearance who are arranged 
in ten groups all with the suffix -kumara. Thus 
AGNI-; ASURA-; DiK-; DvIPA-; NAGA-; STANITA-; 
SUPARNA-; UdADHI-; VAYU-; ViDYUT-. 

Bhima (terrible) 

1. Warrior god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
prince of the mythical Pandu family and one of 
the heroes of the Mahabharata epic, Bhima is usu- 
ally depicted wielding a sword and a club. He is a 
son of the god of the winds Vayu. He is perceived 
as a god of immense strength and great cruelty, 
which separates him from the heroic figure of 
Arjuna, his brother, with whom he is linked in 
the epic. Attribute: a club. Also Bhimasena. 

2. Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An 
attendant of BUDDAKEPALA. 

Bhrkuti-Tara (she who frowns) 
Mother goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. In 
Lamaism particularly, a cruel form of Tara, the 
mother of the Buddha. The so-called "yellow 
Tara." An emanation of Amitabha. Also identified 
as a female bodhisattva or buddh a- designnte. 



Color: yellow. Attribute: image of Amitabha, 

lotus, rosary, staff, trident and water jar. Three- 
eyed. Also Janguli and Vajratara. 

Bhumi (the earth on which all things are 

formed) 

Collective name for a group of deities. Buddhist 

(Varyana). Twelve personifications of the spiri- 
tual spheres through which a BODHISATTVA or 
buddha-AesignAte passes in his quest for perfection 
of knowledge. Common attribute: a staff. 

Bhumi Devata 

Vegetation goddess. Indian. Worshiped by many 
primitive tribes. 

Bhumidevi (the earth goddess) 
Fertility goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic) 
[southern India]. The second wife of ViSNU (or 
Krsna). Her son is Naraka. Bhumidevi is often 

depicted standing on the left (occasionally right) 
hand of the Varaha avatara of Visnu. In the 
north she is known as PuSTl. She is often depicted 
sitting on a lotus throne with bared breasts. 
Attributes: blue lotus, lotus, lute, pomegranate, 
pot with herbs, pot with vegetables and water 
jar. Also Bhu, Bhudevi, Bhumi, Mahi, Prthivi, 
Vasudhara and Zami-Mata. 

Bhumiya (guardian of fields) 
Fertility god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic) [north- 
ern India]. Guardian deity of fields, worshiped as 
a rough stone icon. In later times a form of ViSNU. 

Bhutadamara (tumult of demons) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). May be depicted 

reclining on the Hindu goddess APAR\JITA. Attrib- 
utes: snakes in the hair, and staff Three-eyed. 



52 Bhutamata 



Bhutamata (mother of goblins) 
Terrible goddess. Hindu. A frightful form of 
Parvati. Accompanied by a lion. Attribute: 
phallus (on the head), shield and sword. 

Bhuvanesvari (lady of the spheres) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of a 

group of ten Mahavidy;\s personifying the Sakti 
of Siva. Also an epithet applied to several god- 
desses. Aspects include Siddharatri. Attributes: 
hook and noose. 

Bia 

Goddess of force. Greek. The daughter of the 
underworld goddess Styx and the sister of 
Kratos, god of strength. 

Bi-har 

Guardian deity. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of the guardian maharajas protecting against 
demons. Attended by a lion. Color: white. Attrib- 
utes: arrow, bow, knife, staff, sword and trident. 
Three-eyed. 

Birdu 

Minor chthonic underworld god. Mesopotamian 

(Babylonian- Akkadian). Consort of Manungal 
and syncretized with Nergal. 

Birrahgnooloo 

Creator goddess. Australian aboriginal. She is 
recognized by several aboriginal clans as the chief 
consort of Baiame, the creator god. Revered as 
the all -mother of humankind and creator of Uving 
things on earth, her role largely parallels that of 
Baiame. Traditions suggest that during the 
Dreamtime she planted vegetation as she moved 



through the primordial world, fashioning 
creatures from clay and breathing spirit into 
human beings. Her eldest son is Daramulum or 
Gayandi, regarded as an intermediary between 
Baiame and humankind. 

Bishatnon 

God of luck. Shinto [Japan]. One of seven deities 
concerned with fortune, he appears as 
a warrior clad in full armor holding a spear in one 
hand and a toy pagoda, identified as a "tower of 
treasure" in the other. He has been Hnked with 
the Buddhist god Vaisravana (Kubera). 

Bo Hsian 

God. Taoist (Chinese). The Taoist counterpart 
of the Buddhist deity Samantabhadra. Usually 
depicted upon a white elephant. He is considered 
to be a god of wisdom. 

Boann (she of the white cows) 
River goddess. Celtic (Irish). The local goddess of 
the river Boyne. She is one of the consorts of the 
Dagda, alternatively of a minor local deity 
Elcmar, cuckolded by the Dagda who sent him 
away on an errand for nine months. The mother 
of Angus mac Og. 
See also Aengus. 

Bodhisattva (one whose essence is perfect 

knowledge) 

Generic title for a buddha-AesigrvAte. Buddhist 
[northern India, Tibet, China and Japan]. 
Any one of the earlier stages of a future 
biiddha. Depicted wearing regal dress and 
trappings, including a crown. The most signif- 
icant include AVALOKITESVARA, Maitreya and 
Manjusri. 



BRAGI 53 



Boldogasszony 

Tutelary goddess. Pre-Christian Hungarian. The 
guardian deity of women and children, she 
became syncretized with the Virgin Mary after 
Christianization. 

Bolon Ti Ku 

Chthonic underworld gods. Mayan (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico] . A collective term for a 
group of nine deities not otherwise clearly 
defined. They are probably still invoked by mod- 
ern Mexican Indians. 

Bombay Kamayan 

Local disease goddess. Hindu [northern India]. 
Particularly worshiped at Gaya. 

Bonchor 

Tutelary god. Pre-Islamic Berber [Tunisia]. Prob- 
ably recognized as a creator deity. 

Boora Pennu 

God of light. Indian (Khond). A local deity in 
the Orissa province who created the earth god- 
dess Tari Pennu as his consort and through her 
engendered the other great gods. Until recently 
this dcit}^ was the subject of sacrifice in notori- 
ous meriah rituals, which involved violent human 
sacrifice. 

Bor 

Archetypal god. Nordic (Icelandic). In the cre- 
ation account, according to Snorri, a living crea- 
ture called Ymir was formed in the misty void of 
Giimungagap. Ymir was nourished by the milk of 
the cow Audhumla, who licked salty ice blocks 
and released a second individual called BURI. He 



had a son called Bor. Bor, in turn, engendered 
the Aesir gods Othin, Vili and Ve. Also Borr. 
See also Othin. 



Boreas 

God of the north wind. Greek and also Roman. 
He controlled the storm which destroyed the 
Persian fleet sailing against Athens. Identified 
with winter frosts. According to the Theogony 
(Hesiod), he is the son of Eos and Astraeos and is 
of Thracian origin: "... when Thracian Boreas 
huddles the thick clouds." 

Borvo 

God of healing. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). Identi- 
fied with several therapeutic springs and mineral 
baths. 

BRAGI (poet; leader) 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). God of poetry. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period (circa 

AD 700) and earlier, until Christianization (circa 

AD 1100). 

SYNONYMS described as "the long bearded one." 

center(s) of cult none known. 

ART REFERENCES none known but probably the 

subject of anonymous carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 

(Snorri). 

A Viking deity, said by Snorri to be a son of 
Othin and consort of Idunn, the goddess who 
keeps the apples of immortality for the gods of 
Asgard. Bragi is possibly also a pseudonym for 
Othin himself. Often found in company with 
Aegir. The cup over which oaths were sworn 
was known as the "cup of Bragi" and he was 
seen as a poet and orator in the hall of the slain, 
Valhalla. 



54 BRAHAIA 



BRAHMA (the creator) 

ORIGIN Hindu [India]. Creator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC or ear- 
lier until present day. 

SYNONYMS many epithets including Abjaja, 
Abjayoni, Astakarna, Kamalasana. 

center(s) of cult restricted since circa AD 
700 to two sanctuaries — at Lake Puskana in 
Rajputana, and at Idar near Mount Abu. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures generally in bronze 
but also in stone. Reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES mentioned in Rg Veda, but 
properly from Ramayana epic and from Puranic 
texts. 

With ViSnu and SiVA, Brahma is one of a trinity 
of supreme creator deities in the Hindu pantheon. 
His consort is generally the goddess of wisdom, 
Sarasvati, but some sources identify the goddess 
of speech, Vach. He also has a second consort, the 
milkmaid Gayatri. Originally the title referred to 
the power of occult utterances which became 
associated with the priests or Brahmans. 

Brahma is depicted with four heads, often 
bearded, facing in four directions, and with four 
hands, sometimes with one of them raised in 
blessing or promise. As a god of knowledge he 
often carries the Vedas (earliest Sanskrit mythol- 
ogy said to have sprung from his head) in one of 
his hands. Other attributes include a water pot 
indicating prosperity, a spoon or a string of pearls. 
He may also carry a staff and an alms dish. He 
may be depicted with red or pink skin, wearing a 
white robe or a loin cloth with a sacred cord 
across the shoulder. His sacred animal is the 
goose. 

According to one legendary source he was cre- 
ated from the right side of the primordial creator 
force. His hfe is anticipated as a hundred heavenly 
years, each of 360 days and nights. Each day, or 
kalpa, is equal to 4,320,000 earthly years. 



Brahma's current age is said to be fifty-one and 
after each of his years, the universe is destroyed 
and rebuilt. 

Brahma is generally less popular than Visnu or 
Siva, probably because he is identified solely with 
the primordial account of creation. Legend 
describes how he created himself from the 
primeval waters using the power of his own 
desire. He thought a seed into existence which 
grew into a golden egg and from which he 
emerged after a year. The two halves of the shell 
became heaven and earth, within which he fash- 
ioned the sky. The Ramayana also describes him 
in the form of a boar which raises the earth on its 
tusks. By contrast the Mahabharata accounts him 
born from a lotus in the navel of Visnu. Else- 
where he emerges as a fish, or as a tortoise. Neg- 
ative aspects of Brahma include drunkenness and 
duphcity. 

One source describes how the beautiful god- 
dess Satarupa was formed from half of Brahma's 
own self but that, in an attempt to prevent him 
looking on his daughter with incestuous desire, 
she circled around him. His four heads resulted. 
There was once a fifth which Siva decapitated 
with the thumb of his left hand. It is said that 
incest with his daughter is also partly responsible 
for Brahma's limited worship. Alternative legend 
credits him with a daughter, Vach, by whom he 
fathered the living world. 

2. In Buddhist tradition he is also one of a group 
of Dharmapala with terrible appearance and 
royal attire. 

Brahmani 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who in later Hinduism became one of the 
group of eight Astamataras or mothers. In 
another grouping one of nine NavasaktIS or 
mothers. She is attended by a goose and wears a 



Buadza 55 



yellow robe. Attributes: book, label, rosary, tri- 
dent and water jar. Also Brahmi. 

Bres Macelatha 

Vegetation god. Celtic (Irish). The son of Eriu 
and of the Fomorian king Elatha. He is therefore 
part TUATHA DE Danaan by parentage but, having 
become Lord of Ireland, he sides with the Fomo- 
rians in the Battle of Moytura and is defeated. 
Concerned with the supply of food from the land. 

Brhaspati (lord of prayer) 
Astral god. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). The 
personification of the planet Jupiter. In Vedic 
texts he appears as a priest. The son of Angiras 
and the guru of the later Hindu pantheon. Con- 
sidered to be almost identical with Brahivia. His 
consort is the goddess Tara and his son is Kaca. 
He rides in a chariot drawn by eight horses. 
Color: golden yellow. Attributes: arrow, ax 
(golden), book, bow, rosary, staff and water jar. 

Briganda 

Tutelary goddess. Romano-Celtic (British). The 
goddess of the Brigantes in the West Riding of 
Yorkshire. She became identified with Caelestis. 
At Corbridge, Northumberland, there is an altar 
inscribed to various deities, including Caelestis 
Brigantia. In a carved stone relief at Birrens, on 
the Antonine Wall in Scotland, she is depicted 
with the attributes of AIinerva. She may also bear 
links with the goddess Brigit. She is frequently 
associated with water and herding. 

BRIGIT (exalted one) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Continental European and Irish). 
Fertility goddess. 



KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP prehistoric times 

until Christianization (circa AD 11 00) and after. 

SYNONYMS Brigid; Bride; Banfile (poetess). 

center(s) OF CULT various sanctuaries through- 
out area of Celtic influence. 

ART REFERENCES stone carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 
Kings; various inscriptions. 

A major Celtic pastoral deity, described as a "wise 
woman, the daughter of the Dagda," Brigit 
became "Christianized" as St. Brigit of Kildare, 
who lived from AD 450-523 and founded the first 
female Christian community in Ireland. She was 
originally celebrated on February 1 in the festival 
of Imbolc, which coincided vnth the beginning of 
lactation in ewes and was regarded in Scotland as 
the date on which Brigit deposed the blue-faced 
hag of winter (see Cailleach Bheur). The 
Christian calendar adopted the same date for the 
Feast of St. Brigit. There is no record that a 
Christian saint ever actually existed, but in Irish 
mythology she became the midwife to the Virgin 
Mary. The name can be traced into many Irish 
and European place names. It is also akin to 
Brhati which means "exalted one" in Sanskrit. 

Britannia 

Tutelary goddess. Romano-Celtic (British). The 
genia loci of Britain who first appears on the 
coinage of Antoninus Pius in the second century 
AD. She became the symbol of the British Empire 
after being partly syncretized with the Roman 
war goddess MiNERVA. 

Buadza 

God of the wind. Gan [district around Accra, 
Ghana, West Africa]. Also regarded as a storm 
god. Also Olila. 



56 BUDDHA 



BUDDHA (enlightened) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. The founder of 
Buddhism. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC to 

present day. 
SYNONYMS Gautama, Siddharta. 
center(s) of cult pan-Asiatic. 
ART REFERENCES metal and stone sculptures, 

paintings etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamala and Tantric 

ritual texts. 

The deity is regarded as having been an historical 
figure, born at Kapilavastu near Gorakhpur. He 
died at Kusinagara in circa 486 BC. His father was 
SuDDHODANA of the Sakya clan, his mother was 
Maya and his wife Yasodhara. 

Buddha is, in certain respects, the equal of the 
Hindu god ViSNU. He is generally depicted with 
shaven or cropped head and may be crowned. 
The hair may be tightly curled. His color attrib- 
ute is gold. 

By tradition, he preached his first sermon at 
Alrgadava in Sarnath near Varanasi where, after a 
visit in 1956 by the Dalai Lama, an enclosure of 
gazelles was erected. 

Buddhabodhiprabhavasita (control of the 

light of the knowledge of the Buddha) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
twelve Vasitas personifying the disciplines of 
spiritual regeneration. Color: yellow. Attributes: 
prayer wheel on a jeweled banner. 

Buddhakapala (Buddha 's skullcap) 
God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A significant ema- 
nation of Aksobhya. Alternatively a form 
of Heruka. His Sakti is Citrasena. Color: 
blue-black. Attributes: club, cup, drum, image of 
Aksobhya and knife. 



Buddhalocana (Buddha's eye) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Shingon). A female buddha 

(see Locana). 

Buddhi (perception) 

1. Minor goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Sometimes 
identified as consort of the Maha-Ganapati form 
of the elephant god Ganesa, depicted seated on 
his knee. 

2. Minor goddess. Jain. 
Budha (awakening) 

1. Astral god. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
The personification of the planet Mercury. The 
son of Soma (Candra) and Tara or Rohini. 
Depicted in a chariot drawn by eight horses or 
lions (sometimes a single lion). Color: yellow. 
Attributes: bow, club, rosary, shield and sword. 
Also Candraja and Candrasuta. 

2. Astral god. Buddhist. The personification of 
the planet Mercury. Stands on a lotus. Attributes: 
bow and arrow. 



BugidYAiba 

God of war. Puerto Rico and Haiti. Classed as 
one of the ZEMIS. The local Indians have believed 
that the deity can give them strength. When they 
smoke in a ritual ceremony in honor of the god, 
their arms increase in size. He will also restore 
failed eyesight. 

Buk 

River goddess. Nuer [Sudan]. A guardian against 
attack by crocodiles, she is invoked by the sacri- 
fice of a goat. Known as the "daughter of the 
fireflies." 



Buriyas 57 



Biiluc Chabtan 

God of war. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Associated with human sacrifice and 
depicted with a characteristic black line encir- 
cling the eye and extending down the cheek. 
Also God F. 

Bumba 

Creator god. Boshongo (Bantu) [southern Africa]. 
The progenitor of the world out of chaos. When 
he experienced stomachache he vomited the 
earth, sun, moon and, finally, all living things, 
including mankind. 



Buri 

Archetypal god. Nordic (Icelandic). According to 
Snorri, one of two primordial beings. Ymir was 
formed from the misty void of Ginnungagap, and 
Buri emerged from the blocks of salty ice on 

which the cosmic cow Audhumla fed. He had a 
son, BOR, who engendered the Aesir gods 
Othin, Vili and Ve. Also Bori. 

Buriyas 

Tutelary war god. Kassite [Iran]. He was invoked 
by the Kassite armies which overthrew Babylonia 
in the sixteenth century BC. 



c 



Cacoch 

Creator god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. According to tradition he engendered 
the water lily from which sprang all the other 
deities of the Mayan pantheon. He is also por- 
trayed as a messenger of the creator god Hacha- 
CYUM. Also Kacoch. 

Caelestis 

Moon goddess. Carthaginian [North Africa]. The 
Romanized form of the Punic goddess Tanit. 
Elsewhere she became syncretized into the cult of 
Aphrodite- Venus. Annual games were held in 
her honor. She was brought to Rome in the form 
of an abstract block of stone (like that of Kybele 
from Pessinus) and became popular there during 
the early part of the third century AD; in this guise 
she was known as the "mighty protectress of the 
Tarpeian hill." 

Cagn 

Creator god. Kalahari bushmen [southern Africa]. 
The progenitor of all Hfe on earth. 

Cailleach Bheur 

Goddess of winter. Celtic (Scottish). Depicted as 
a blue-faced hag who is reborn on October 3 1 



{Samhain). She brings the snow until the goddess 
Brigit deposes her and she eventually turns to 
stone on April 30 {Beltine). In later times the 
mythical, witch-like figure of "Black Aimis" prob- 
ably derived from her. 

Cakra (wheel) 

Embodiment of the creator's mind. Hindu. Emerg- 
ing in the form of a six-spoked wheel (less fre- 
quently eight) which also epitomizes the passage of 
time, and is a sjmibol of wholeness and protection. 
Particularly associated with ViSNU and Krsna, the 
cakra is a common attribute held by many deities. It 
is probably of great antiquity since it is known from 
the time of the Indus Valley civiHzation (prior to 
1700 BC). In Jainism and Buddhism it is the "wheel 
of the law" which leads to perfection. 

Cakresvari (lady of the cakra) 
Goddess of learning. Jain [India]. One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 
Also one of the twenty-four Sasanadevata or 
messenger goddesses. 

Catnaxdi 

God. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 
See also Mixcoatl-Camaxtli. 



58 



Candesvari 59 



Camulos 

War god. Celtic (British). Probably the deity from 
which the name of Camulodunum [Colchester, 
England] derives. Known from inscriptions and 
coinage bearing the symbol of a boar. 

Camunda 

1 . Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A distinct 
form of DuRGA. The name is said to be a con- 
traction of the names of the demonic beings 
Camda and Munda killed by her. She is also rec- 
ognized among the Saptamatara and Astamatara 
mothers as well as sometimes being regarded as a 
Navasakti. She stands variously on a lion, an owl 
and a corpse. Attributes: a large and varied assort- 
ment of objects are held. Three-eyed. Also Yami. 

2. Goddess. Buddhist. She stands upon a corpse. 
Color: red. Attributes: cup and knife. 

Caiida (violent) 

Terrible goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 

distinct form of DuRGA and one of a group of 
nine Navadurgas ("nine durgas"). Canda, with 
Munda, was also one of the demons killed by a 
form of Durga known as Camunda (contraction 
of the two demonic names). She is depicted with 
a large number of attributes. Also a form of 
Mahisasuramardini. 

Candali (outcast woman) 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist- 
Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a group of eight Gauri 
goddesses. Color: red or blue. Attributes: flames. 

Candamius 

Astral god. Romano-Iberian. Known from 
inscriptions and place-names in northern Spain 
and syncretized with Jupiter. 



Candanayika (mistress of the fierce) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A distinct 
form of Durga and one of a group of nine 
Navadurgas ("nine durgas"). 

Candarosana 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A form of the god 
Aksobhya. Color: yellow. Attributes: noose, skin 
and sword. 

Candarupa 

Groddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A distinct 
form of Durga and one of a group of nine 
Navadurgas ("nine durgas"). 

Candavati 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A distinct 
form of Durga and one of a group of nine 
Navadurgas ("nine durgas"). 

Candelifera 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. Responsible for 
bringing the newborn child into the light. Usually 
associated with LUCINA and Carmentes. 

Candesvara (the lord of Canda) 
Minor god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A benevo- 
lent aspect of SrVA. Also an attendant on Siva, said 
to have been a youthful cowherd. He sits on a lotus 
throne. Attributes: arrow, ax, bow, club, crown, 
hatchet, noose, rosary, snake, trident and water jar. 

Candesvari (fierce lady) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). She stands 
upon a corpse. Color: yellow. Attributes: grass 
and an antelope. 



60 Candika 



Candika (fierce) 

Goddess of desire. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 
May be included among the Saptamataras or 
ASTAMATARAS (mothers). 

Candogra (fierce and terrible) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A distinct 
form of DURGA and one of a group of nine 
Navadurgas ("nine durgas"). 

Candra 

1. Planet god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Per- 
sonified by the moon and also seen as a dikpala 
or guardian of the northern direction. Consorts 
include Kaumudi, Tara and the naksatras or 
astral goddesses. His son is Budha. He drives in 
a chariot drawn by ten white horses. Color: 
white. Attributes: club, lotus, sacred rope and 
prayer wheel. The term candra usually refers to 
the cup containing the sacrificial yellow bever- 
age SOMA, often a synonym for the deity. Candra 
is also the apotheosis of the pale yellow moon 
disc. 

2. Planet god. Buddhist. Attended by a 
goose. Color: white. Attributes: moon disc on 
a lotus. 

Candrasekhara (moon crested) 

Form of the god Siva. Hindu (Puranic). 

Portrayed standing stiffly upright and wearing 

snake jewelry with the moon on the left 

side of his headdress. Attributes: ax and an 

antelope. 




(the black man of the 



chain) 

Local god. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). Worshiped 
in southern India. 



Cao Guo-jiu 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, he was 
once a mortal being who achieved immortaUty 
through his Ufestyle. The tutelary god of actors. 
Attributes include musical rattles or castanets. 
See also Ba Xian. 

Carcika (repetitive chant) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Color: red. 

Attributes: cup and knife. 

Cariociecus 

War god. Romano-Iberian. Syncretized with the 
god Mars. 

Carmentes 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. Responsible for 
bringing the newborn child into the Ught. Usually 
associated with LuciNA and Candelifera. 

Cathubodua 

War goddess. Celtic (Continental European). 
Known only from inscriptions and probably com- 
parable with the Irish Celtic Badb Catha. 
See also MORRIGAN. 

Caturmurti 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The specific 
form of Visnu with four faces. Also the syn- 
cretization of Brahma, ViSnu, Siva and Surya. 

Cauri 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist 
and Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a group of eight 
G^[/jy goddesses. Color: yellow. Attribute: noose. 



CERNUNNOS 61 



Cautha 

Sun god. Etruscan. Attributes include a sun disc 
crown and fire in each hand. He is depicted rising 
fi-om the sea. 

Ce Acatl 

Minor creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of the deities collectively 
classed as the QUETZALCOATL complex. Also (1) 
Acatl. 

Cenkalaniyanunal (lady of the red paddyfield) 
Local goddess. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). 
Guardian of paddyfields in southern India. 

Centeocihuad 

Maize goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Represented at various sites including 
Tula [Hidalgo]. According to the codices Borgia, 
Cospi and Fgervery-Mayer she is also one of four 
temple deities. Also Centeotl. 

CERES 

ORIGIN Roman. Mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC tO AD 

400. 

SYNONYMS Demeter (Greek). 
center(s) of cult throughout Roman world. 
ART references sculptures and reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

Ceres is arguably the most recent model of the 
"great mother" whose predecessors include INANA, 
ISTAR, Artemis, Kybele and Demeter on whom 
she is directly modeled. She is the daughter of 
Kronos (Cronus) and Rhea and one of the more 
important consorts of JUPITER. Her daughter in 
the upper world, KORE, is the goddess of the 



underworld Proserpina who was abducted by 
Pluto. She became foster-mother to Triptole- 
mus, an ill-fated king in the mold of the 
Mesopotamian Dumuzi, depicted in the classical 
Greek Eleusinian Mysteries. As the embodiment of 
vegetation, Ceres neglects the natural world dur- 
ing the period that her daughter remains below 
ground with Pluto (winter), but restores nature 
annually when Proserpina is returned to her. 

Ceres was worshiped through the festivals of 
Thesmophoria and Cerealia in sanctuaries through- 
out the Greco-Roman empires. 

Ceridwen 

Goddess of inspiration. Celtic (Welsh). Depicted 
as the hag-aspect of the mother goddess, she is 
the consort of Tegid Foel. Her children are 
Creirwy (daughter) and Afagddu (son). She 
allegedly prepares the caldron of knowledge. 

CERNUNNOS 

ORIGIN Celtic (mainly Gallic). Fertility and 

chthonic god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until circa AD 1000. 
SYNONYMS none. 

CENTER(S) OF CULT none. 

ART REFERENCES Gundestrup Bowl; monumen- 
tal stone work and relief carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES votive inscriptions. 

Cernunnos appears to have been recognized in 
the region of Gaul which is now central France. 
He is typically drawn as a man bearing the antlers 
of a stag, not necessarily representing an animal 
spirit but a deity closely involved with animals and 
one which can transform instantly into animal 
shape. In the Celtic world, horns and antlers 
were generally regarded as symbols of virility and 
fertility. On the Celtic Gundestrup Bowl from 



62 Cghene 



Denmark, Cernunnos is attended by a boar — an 
animal revered by the Celts for its speed, pugnac- 
ity and magical connotations — and on the same 
vessel he seems to be associated with a bull. This 
latter link reappears on a stone relief from Reims. 
Cernunnos is also depicted in association with 
snakes, sometimes bearing rams' horns, as on a 
stone reUef fovind at Cirencester in England. His 
legs may be replaced by snakes, and at Sommere- 
court [Haute Marne] a relief was foimd depicting 
the god in company with an unnamed goddess 
holding a basket and feeding a snake. The snake 
symbolism is generally associated with rejuvena- 
tion. Other reliefs show him holding purses of 
money. 

Cghene 

Creator god. Isoko [southern Nigeria, West 
Africa]. An abstract being who is embodied by a 
mediator in the form of a sacred wooden totem, 
the Oyise. The god has no temples or priests. 

Chac 

Rain god(s). Mayan (Yucatec, classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. Not part of the hierarchy of 
Mayan gods, but worshiped with great devotion 
at local level. Originally there was a god, Chaac, 
who was of huge size and who taught mankind 
agriculture. He was regarded as the god of thun- 
der, lightning, rain and bread, and of ntilpas 
(smallholdings) and their produce. Also God B. 

Later, four leading Chacs become recognized, 
each with different colors and directions. They 
are known popularly as the Ah Hoyaob (sprin- 
klers or urinators), since the rain falls from 
between their legs. They are regarded as musi- 
cians and their sacred animals are frogs and tor- 
toises. Attributes include a long pendulous nose, 
a scroll beneath the eye and a thin, ribbon-Uke 
object projecting from a corner of the mouth, 
which may be toothless. They may also hold 



burning torches, symbolizing their power to 
withhold as well as dispense rain. 
See also Tlaloc. 

Chac Uayab Xoc 

Fish god. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. Known as the "great demon shark," 
he feeds on the bodies of drowned fishermen, but 
also provides catches. 

Chaitanya 

Mendicant god. Hindu (Puranic). A deified 
mortal who became one of the many incarnations 
of the god ViSiMU. Born at Nadiya in AD 1484, he 
died at Puri in 1527. Chaitanya was a sickly child 
who, according to legend, was left to his fate, 
hanging in a tree to die, but was revived by the 
gods and thus became deified. He was married 
twice before adopting a strict ascetic existence at 
the age of twenty-four, from which time he trav- 
eled extensively, eventually setding in the holy 
city of Benares. He is remembered as a great 
social reformer. His main sanctuary at Nadiya 
includes a small statue of Krsna to whom he 
devoted himself 

Chalchiuhdatonal (jade glowing) 

God of water. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the deities collectively classed as 
the Tlaloc complex, generally concerned with 
rain, agriculture and fertility. 

CHALCHIUHTLICUE (her skirt is of 

jade) 

ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 

Water goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750 to 

AD 1500 but probably much earUer. 
SYNONYMS none. 



Chang Hs'ien 63 



center(s) of cult worshiped widely but chiefly 

at Teotihuacan. 
ART REFERENCES stone Sculptures, murals, codex 

illustrations. 
LITERARY SOURCES pre- Columbian codices. 

Featuring strongly in creation mythology, 
Chalchiuhtlicue presided over the fourth of the 
world ages which terminated in a great deluge. 
She is the tutelary deity of the fourth of the thir- 
teen heavens identified at the time of the Spanish 
conquest, Ilhuicad Citlalicue (the heaven of the 
star-skirted goddess). She takes the role of a veg- 
etation goddess responsible for the flowering and 
fiiiiting of the green world, particularly maize; she 
also takes responsibility for such natural phenom- 
ena as whirlpools. The consort of the rain god 
Tlaloc and one of the group classed as the Tlaloc 
complex, she is particularly invoked as a guardian 
goddess of young women and is responsible for 
unpredictable events. A huge statue, three meters 
high, was discovered at Teotihuacan, and a larger, 
unfinished statue, allegedly of the goddess and 
weighing approximately 2 00 tons (now in Mexico 
City), was found on the slopes of the Tlaloc 
mountain. Attributes include a ratde on a baton, 
and her dress is adorned with waterlilies. 

Chalchiutonadvih Aztec. See Atl. 

Chalchiutotolin (jade turkey) 
God of penitence. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the deities collectively classed as 
the Tezcatlipoca complex. 

Chalmecacihuilt (chalman lady) 

Minor chthonic underworld goddess. Aztec 

(classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the 

deities collectively classed as the MlCTLANTE- 
CUHTLi complex. 



Chalmecad 

Minor chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the deities 
collectively classed as the MiCTLANTECUHTLI 
complex. 

Chamer 

God of death. Mayan (Chorti, classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [eastern Guatemala]. Appears as a skeleton 
dressed in white. His consort is Xtabai. Attributes 
include a scythe with a bone blade, probably copied 
fi-om the traditions of Christian immigrants. 

Chang Fei 

God of war. Chinese. The counterpart of the god 
Kuan Ti and often hnked iconographically with 
him and the god LiU Pei, Chang Fei rules over 
the dark half of the year — autumn and winter. 
Like the seasons he represents he is character- 
ized by drunkenness and wildness. According to 
tradition he was wounded by his subordinates 
while in a drunken stupor. He is depicted with a 
black face, a bushy beard and wild staring eyes 
giving him a ferocious appearance. 

Chang Hs'ien 

Guardian god of children. Chinese. According to 

tradition he was the mortal king of Szechuan 
killed by the founder of the Sung dynasty. His 
wife was captured and forced to become a concu- 
bine in the imperial palace. She was discovered by 
the emperor kneeling before a picture of her 
deceased husband which she identified as a local 
deity, "the immortal Chang who gives children." 
This triggered the cult which began locally in 
Szechuan circa AD 100. Chang Hs'ien is depicted 
holding a bow made of mulberry wood and either 
aiming an arrow at the star Tien Kou, the so- 
called celestial dog which threatens the earth, or 
aiming the empty bow at a rat (see Erh Lang). 



64 Chang Tao Ling 



Chang Tao Ling 

God of the afterlife. Taoist (Chinese). The head 
of the heavenly Ministry of Exorcism, and 
allegedly the first head of the Taoist church. By 
tradition he vanquished the five poisonous ani- 
mals — the centipede, scorpion, snake, spider and 
toad — placing their venom in a flask in which he 
concocted the elixir of life. Having drunk the 
contents at the age of 123, he ascended to 
heaven. He is depicted riding upon a tiger and 
brandishing a sword. Before the communist 
takeover of China, the gods of exorcism lived in 
a sanctuary on the Dragon Tiger mountain in 
Kiangsi province. Exorcised spirits were trapped 
in jars which were stored in the cellars. 

Chantico (in the house) 
Hearth goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A household guardian deity personi- 
fied by hearth fires. One of the deities collectively 
classed as the XlUHTECUHTLI complex. 

Chaob (carrying off) 

Wind god(s). Mayan (Lacandon, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. They live in the 
four cardinal directions and, according to 
tradition, will bring about the end of the 
current world with earthquakes and tempests 
when the last of the Lacandon people dies. 
They will blow so hard that they blast the 
monkeys out of the trees. The names of two 
are identified, Hunaunic in the east and 
Chikinkuh in the West. 

Chaos 

Primordial deity. Greco-Roman. The amorphous 
male power who, with the female presence, Nyx, 
personifies the empty space which existed before 
the formation of the cosmos. 



Chans 

Minor goddess. Greek. The consort of Hephais- 
TOS. Later the name becomes more famiUar as the 
Gratiae or Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosine and 
Thalea) who then become the Charites in the 
Roman pantheon. 

Chattrosnisa (with an umbrella) 
God. Buddhist. One of eight USNISA deities appar- 
ently connected with the guardian sky deities or 
dikpalas. Color: white. Attribute: parasol. 

Chaya (shadow) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The reflec- 
tion of the goddess Sanjna, consort of SURYA and 
mother of the astral deity Sani. 

Chemosh See Kemos. 

Chi Sung Tzu 

Rain god. Chinese. 

Chibirias 

Chthonic earth goddess. Mayan (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico] . The consort of the cre- 
ator god Itzam Na and the mother of the 
Bacabs. She sends the rain for Itzam Na and, as 
an iguana, is said to have flooded the world in a 
previous cycle. She also paints the earth, the 
leaves of certain plants and the crest of the wood- 
pecker red with her paintbrush. She invented the 
art of weaving and is the patroness of weavers. 
Attributes include a hank of cotton or cloth. Also 
Ix Chebel Yax; h. Hun Tah Dz'ib (lady unique 
owner of the paintbrush); Lc Hun Tah Nok (lady 
unique owner of the cloth); Ix Zacal Nok (lady 
cloth-weaver). 



Chujung 65 



Chiccan 

Rain gods. Mayan (Chorti, classical Mesoameri- 
can) [eastern Guatemala]. Giant reptilian deities 
whose blood is cold and who evolved from 
snakes. They form a quartet, each living at the 
bottom of a deep lake situated in the four cardi- 
nal directions. They are believed to churn the 
waters which rise as clouds. The Ah Patnar 
UlNICOB gods then beat the rain from the clouds 
with stone axes. 

Chicomecohuatl 

Maize goddess. Aztec and postclassical Meso- 
american. [Mexico] . Her festival was held in Sep- 
tember when a young girl was sacrificed having 
taken on the role of the deity for a period of time 
during the celebrations. She was decapitated on a 
heap of maize fruits and her blood was collected 
in a large bowl before being poured over a 
wooden figurine of the goddess. Finally the vic- 
tim's skin was flayed off and worn by a dancing 
priest. 
See also XlLONEN. 

Chicomexochitl 

God of painters. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico] . Also described as a god of solar pleasure. 

Chiconahui 

Hearth goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. A household guardian deity personi- 
fied by hearth fires. One of the deities collectively 
classed as the Xiuhtecuhtli complex. 

Chiconahuiehecatl 

Minor creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of the deities collectively 
classed as the QUETZALCOATL complex. 



Chiconahm Itzcuintli-Chantico 

God of lapidiaries. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. 

Chikara 

Sky god. Korekore (Shona-speaking) [northern 
Zimbabwe, southern Africa]. He has a son, 
NOSENGA. 

Chiimamastaka (decapitated) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A headless 
form of DuRGA. Also one of a group of ten 
Mahavidyas, goddesses of great knowledge 
personifying the Sakti of Sl\'A. She may be 
depicted holding her head in her hands. Aspects 
include Viraratri. Attributes: scimitar, skull. 
Also Chinnamasta. 

Chiuke 

Sky god. Ibo [Nigeria, West Africa]. Regarded as 
a creator god. 

Chors 

Sun god. Pre-Christian Slav [Balkans]. Identified 
from the Nestor Chronicle. Attributes include 
horns and a canine head. 

Chos-Skyon (protector) 

Tutelary guardian deity. Buddhist-Lamaist 

[Tibet]. One of a group of gods of fearsome 

appearance who wear royal apparel. Rides a 

white elephant. Color: blue. Attributes: knife and 

noose. 

Chu Jving 

God of fire. Chinese. Also the heavenly executioner. 



66 Chul Tatic Chites Vaneg 



Chill Tatic Chites Vaneg (holy father, 

creator of man) 
Creator god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Thought to be the Mayan name of the 
Christian god. 

Chung K'uei 

God of the afterlife. Taoist (Chinese). He belongs 
to the heavenly "ministry of exorcism" and, 
though not the most senior (he is subservient to 
Chang Tao Ling), is probably the most popular 
within the category. He was originally a mortal 
working as a physician in the eighth century AD. 
He is depicted with a fearsome face, said to be so 
terrible that it can drive away any demonic spirit 
who dares to oppose him. He is engaged in com- 
bat using a sword and a fan on which is written a 
magical formula to ward off evil. Symbolic 
peaches are suspended from his hat and a bat cir- 
cles his head representing happiness. 

Cihuacoatl- Quilaztli 

Creator goddess. Aztec (classical Mesomerican) 
[Mexico] . Using a magical vessel, she grinds bone 
fragments obtained from previous generations of 
mankind in earlier world ages into a powder. The 
gods then commit self-sacrifice, allowing their 
blood to drip into the vessel. From the resulting 
mix, the human race of the fifth sun is formed. 

Cinxia 

Minor goddess of marriage. Roman. Concerned 
with the proper dress of the bride. 

CIPACTLI (great earth mother) 

ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 

Primordial goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750 until 

AD 1500, but probably much earlier. 



SYNONYMS none. 
center(s) of cult none specific. 
ART references codex illustrations, stone 
carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES pre-Columbian codices. 

Not strictly a goddess, but significant enough in 
Aztec cosmogony to be included here. According to 
tradition she was created in the form of a huge aUi- 
gator-like monster by the imderworld deities 
MiCTLANTECUHLTI and MiCTECACIHUATL. She 
may equate with Tlaltecuhtli, the toad-like 
earth monster torn apart to form heaven and earth. 
According to one tradition she emerged from the 
primordial waters and engaged in a fierce struggle 
with the sun god Tezcatlipoca during which he 
tore off her lower jaw to prevent her sinking back 
into the depths and she bit off his right foot. The 
mountains are said to be the scaly ridges of her skin. 

Cipactonal 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the deities collectively classed as 
the Ometeotl complex. 

Cit Chac Coh 

God of war. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Identified as a red puma. 

Citlalatonac (glowing star) 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. One of the deities collectively classed 

as the Ometeotl complex. His consort is 
CiTLALic;uE. Between them they created the stars 
of the night sky. 

Citlalicue (her skirt is a star) 

Creator goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. One of the deities collectively classed as 
the Ometeotl complex. Her consort is Citlala- 



COATLICUE 67 



tonac. Between them they created the stars of the 
night sky. 

Citra (bright) 

Minor goddess of misfortune. Hindu (epic and 
Puranic). A malevolent NAKSATRA or astral deity; 
daughter of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Citrasena (having a bright spear) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). The Sakti of 

BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Cittavasita (control of thinking) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
twelve Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spir- 
itual regeneration. Color: white. Attribute: staff. 

Cizin (stench) 

God of death. Mayan (Yucatec and other tribes, 
classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The most 
important death god in the Mayan cultural area. 
Said to live in Memal, the Yucatec place of death, 
and to burn the souls of the dead. He first burns the 
mouth and anus and, when the soul complains, 
douses it with water. When the soul complains of 
this treatment, he bums it again until there is noth- 
ing left. It then goes to the god Sicunyum who spits 
on his hands and cleanses it, after which it is free to 
go where it chooses. Attributes of Cizin include a 
fleshless nose and lower jaw, or the entire head may 
be depicted as a skuU. Spine and ribs are often 
showing. He wears a collar with death eyes between 
lines of hair and a long bone hangs from one ear- 
lobe. His body is painted with black and particularly 
yellow spots (the Mayan color of death). 

dementia 

Minor goddess. Roman. Generally invoked to 
protect the common man against the emperor's 



absolute use of power. Under Hadrian the term 
dementia temporum (mildness of the times) came 
into common usage. 

COATLICUE (the serpent-skirted goddess) 
ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 

Mother goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750 tO AD 

1500 and probably much earlier. 
SYNONYMS Coathcue-Chimalman (Valley of 

Mexico). 
CENTER(s) OF CULT Tenochtitlan. 
ART REFERENCES stone Sculptures, murals, codex 

illustrations. 
LITERARY SOURCES pre-Columbian codices. 

The creator goddess of the earth and mankind 
and the female aspect of Ometeotl. One of the 
group classed as the Teteoinnan complex. She 
has 400 sons, the stars of the southern sky, and is 
the mother of the goddess COYOLXAUHQUI. 
Later, as a widow, she was impregnated by a ball 
of feathers as she was sweeping the "serpent 
mountain" of Coatepec near Tila. Her other chil- 
dren decapitated her as punishment for her dis- 
honor, but she gave birth to the sun god 
HuiTZlLOPOCHTLl who Subsequently slew Coy- 
olxauhqui and her brothers, thus banishing night 
for day. The Great Temple at Tenochtitlan com- 
memorates this primordial battle. 

Coatlicue is known iconographically from a 
colossal headless statue dated to the late Aztec 
period, circa AD 1300, which stands in Mexico 
City. The hands and feet are clawed and the fig- 
ure bears a necklace of human hands and hearts 
with a skull pendant. A skirt is formed from 
snakes and two snakes arising from the neck 
meet to form a face. Down her back hang thir- 
teen leather cords festooned with snails. Accord- 
ing to tradition Coatlicue feeds off human 
corpses. She is also recognized as the patron 
deity of florists. 



68 Coca-Mama 



Coca-Mama 

Goddess of the coca plant. South American 
Indian [Peru]. Minor goddess who oversees the 
harvest of the coca crop. Models of the deity were 
made from the leaves of the plant and kept for a 
year before being burned in a ritual to ensure a 
good coca harvest. 

Cocidius 

Hunting goddess. Celtic (British). Northern 
British deity depicted in stone relief at Rising- 
ham (Yorkshire). 

Cocijo 

Rain god. Zapotec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Known to have been worshiped by the 
Monte Alban culture of Zapotec-speaking peo- 
ples in the Valley of Oaxaca. 

Co(co)chimetl (soporific) 

Minor god of merchants and commerce. Aztec 

(classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the 

deities collectively classed as the Yacatecuhtli 

complex. 

Col (black one) 

Rain god. Nuer [Sudan]. He brings rain 
and thunderstorms. Souls of people killed by 
lightning have been described as colwic. Also 
Choi. 

Colel Cab (mistress of the earth) 
Chthonic earth goddess. Mayan (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. This may be another 
title for the Ix Zacal Nok aspect of the goddess 
CmBIRIAS. 



Colop U Uichldn (tears out the eye of the sun) 
Sky god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. Said to Hve in the midst of the sky, but with 
a night avatara of the same name who Uves in the 
underworld land of the dead, Metnal, and who is 
the bringer of disease. 



Condatis 

River god. Celtic (British). Northern British deity 
with stone votive inscriptions located in County 
Durham. 



Contrebis 

Local god. Romano-Celtic (British). Identified 
from an inscription at Lancaster in conjunction 
with another deity, lALONUS. 

Corns 

God of wind. Roman. Specifically the deity 
responsible for the northwest winds. 

COVENTINA 

ORIGIN Romano-Celtic (British). Tutelary and 
water goddess of uncertain affinities. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 200 BC until 
AD 500 or later. 

SYNONYMS none known. 

center(s) of cult sacred spring near the 
Roman fort of Brocolitia [Carrawburgh] on 
Hadrian's Wall. 

ART REFERENCES monumental carvings and bas 
reUefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES monumental inscriptions. 

Little is known of Coventina other than that 
she was a purely local British goddess of some 



Cybele 69 



importance. She is best observed from the period 
of the Roman occupation, at which time she 
shows a classical influence but is clearly Celtic in 
origin. On one bas relief found at Carrawburgh 
her name is associated with three nymphs hold- 
ing vessels with issuing streams of water; on 
another she is pictured as a water nymph on a 
leaf, pouring water from a vessel. Her Carraw- 
burgh sanctuary, which followed a simple, 
unroofed design similar to that of a small 
Romano-Celtic temple, was sited beside a well 
fed by a sacred spring and was associated with the 
Roman fort of Brocolitia. The well attests to a 
cult involving a ritual shaft and water, into which 
more than 13,000 Roman coins had been thrown 
dating to the reign of Gratian (AD 407), indicat- 
ing Coventina's long-standing popularity. 
Incense-burners to "Coventina Augusta" have 
been discovered from the late period. 

In addition to money, pearls and pins were 
thrown into the well as votive offerings, the pins 
possibly implying a role in childbirth. Models of 
a dog (linked to the Greco-Roman physician Aes- 
culapius) and a horse (a distinct fertility symbol) 
had also been deposited. Less significant and 
probably dumped when the temple was dese- 
crated by Christians were a skull, altars and other 
carved stones. There is no evidence of connection 
with a severed head cult. 

Coyolxauhqui (golden bells) 
Astral goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A deification and incarnation (avatar d) 
of the moon. According to tradition she is the 
half-sister of the sun god Huttzilopochtli. The 
god sprang, fiiUy armed, from his decapitated 
mother, COATLICUE, and engaged all his enemies 
who, by inference, are the 400 astral gods, his 
half-brothers. He slew his sister and hurled her 
from the top of a mountain. Alternative tradition 



suggests his sister was an ally whom he was unable 
to save, so he decapitated her and threw her head 
into the sky, where she became the moon. She was 
represented in the Great Temple at Tenochtitlan, 
where she was depicted in front of successive 
Huitzilopochtli pyramids. She is also a hearth 
deity within the group classed as the XiUHTE- 
CXJHTLI complex. 

Cratos 

God of strength. Greek. See Kratos. 
Cvim Hau 

Chthonic god of death. Mayan (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of several names 
for a death god hsted in the codices. 

Cunda 

Goddess. Buddhist [eastern Bengal and Tibet]. 
An emanation of Vajrasattva or Vairocana. A 

female BODIIISATTVA or buddha-designate. Also 
seen separately as a deification of hterature, one 
of a group of twelve Dharanis. She may stand 
upon a man. Color: white or green. Very large 
variety of attributes. Also Aryacunda. 

Cunina 

Minor goddess of infants. Roman. Responsible 
for guarding the cradle. 

Cupid See Amor. 

Cybele 

Mother goddess. Romanized name. 
See also Kybele. 



D 



Dabog 

Sun god. Slav [Balkans and southern Russia]. 
References found in inscriptions from Kiev. After 
Christianization he was reduced to a diabolic 
personality. 

Dadimunda 

Tutelary god. Singhalese Buddhist [Sri Lanka]. 
An attendant on the god Upulvan to whom he 
acted as treasurer. The guardian of Buddhism in 
Sri Lanka. His sacred animal is an elephant. Also 
Devata bandara. 

Dagan (1) 

Grain and fertiUty god. Mesopotamian (Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). Generally linked with Anu in 
giving status to cities e.g. the dedications by the 
ninth-century BC Assyrian king Assur-nasir-apli 
at Kalakh. Cult centers existed at Tuttul and 
Terqa. 

Dagan (2) 

Grain and fertility god. Western Semitic 
(Canaanite and Phoenician). The father of Baal 
in Ugaritic creation epics. A major sanctuary was 
built in his honor at Mari [Syria] and he was rec- 



ognized in parts of Mesopotamia where he 
acquired the consort Salas. Worshiped mainly at 
Gaza and Asdod, but also the supreme god of the 
Philistines. Known in biblical references as 
Dagon (Judges 16.23). Mentioned in the apoc- 
ryphal Book of Maccabees. The cult is thought to 
have continued until circa 150 BC. Israelite 
misinterpretation of the Ugaritic root Dagan led 
to the assumption that he was a fish god, therefore 
attributes include a fish tail. 

Dagan (3) 

Local supreme god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. This god 
bears no relation to the Semitic god Dagan, but 
is known by several synonyms including Dagon, 
Doghan and Deogan. He has been identified in 
several villages in the south of the Kafir region 
[southern Nuristan]. "Dagan" may be less a 
proper name than a title of respect. 

DAGDA (the good god) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Father of the tribe. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from prehistoric 
times until after Christianization circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS Ruad ro-fhessa (lord of perfect know- 
ledge); Eochaid Ollathair (all-father). 

center(s) of cult Tara, etc. 



70 



Damkina 7 1 



ART REFERENCES possibly various stone carvings, 

Romano-Celtic and earlier. 
LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 

Kings. 

The Dagda is a strictly Irish tribal god not found 
among the Continental Celts. He is regarded in 
a general sense as the protector and benefactor of 
the people, not "good" in a moral sense but in a 
practical fashion — "good at anything." A father 
figure who led the deities of Ireland against the 
Fir Bolg in the First Battle of Moytura (see 
TuATHA DE Danann). He has no exclusive roles, 
but in mythology enters a ritualized union with 
fertihty goddesses including MORRIGAN and 
BOANN. He is the father of Brigit and of Aengus 
Mac Oc (young god). Dagda is represented in lit- 
erature as possessing immense strength and a 
prodigious appetite {see also Thor). Drawn by 
Christian writers as a boorish and grotesque char- 
acter, which may be inaccurate, his weapon is a 
huge club which can slay nine men at a stroke 
and which was once dravm on a ceremonial cart. 
He owns a bronze "caldron of abundance" with 
magical properties of wisdom and rejuvenation, 
symbol of Irish prosperity. The Dagda may 
be the subject of a vast naked figure armed with 
a club cut in chalk at Cerne Abbas in Dorset, 
England, and probably created during the 
Romano-Celtic period. 

Dagon See Dagan (2). 

Daikoku 

God of luck. Shinto [Japan] . One of seven gods 
of fortune in Shintoism and often linked with 
the god Ebisu. Originally a god of kitchens, he 
became a deity concerned with happiness. He is 
depicted as a fat, well-to-do figure seated on 
two rice bales and carrying a sack on his back. 



He also holds a hammer in his right hand. In 
depictions there is often a mouse nibbling at 
one of the rice bales. Small gold icons of the god 
may be carried as talismans of wealth. Accord- 
ing to tradition, when Daikoku's hammer is 
shaken, money falls out in great profusion. In 
western Japan he is also syncretized with the 
god of rice paddies, Ta-No-Kami, and thus 
becomes the god of agriculture and farmers. He 
may have developed from the Buddhist god 
Mahakala. 

Daksa (skilled and able) 
Sun god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). The son of 
Brahma and Aditi, he is an Aditya and demi- 
urge. His consort is Prasuti, and he is said to 
have had up to sixty daughters. He appears in 
conflict with his son-in-law SrVA as the main 
offender against Siva's consort Sati (accotmted as 
one of his daughters), who was so insulted by 
Daksa that she committed suicide by jumping 
into a ritual fire. Siva took revenge by decapitat- 
ing Daksa but later, after intercession from other 
gods, Brahma brought him back to life, giving 
him the substitute head of a sacrificial goat. 
Attribute: head of a goat. Also Prajapati. 

Damgalnuna 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). She first appears as a con- 
sort of Enlil and, as Mesopotamian traditions 
progress, becomes associated with Ea and the 
mother of the Babylonian god Marduk. Also 
Damkina (Akkadian). 

Damkina 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). 
Consort of Ea. 
See also DAMGALNUNA. 



72 Danaparamita 



Danaparamita 

Philosophical deity. Buddhist. One of twelve 
Paramita deities and a spiritual offspring of Rat- 
NASAMBHAVA. Color: reddish white. Attributes: an 
ear of rice and a banner with pearl. 

DANU (1) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Founding goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until after Christianization circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS AnU; Don (Welsh). 
center(s) of cult various sanctuaries. 
ART REFERENCES none known. 
LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 

Kings; History of Races etc; Mabinogion (Welsh). 

Danu is the leader and progenitress of the Irish 
pantheon, the TuATHA DE Danann. Otherwise 
she is a remote and barely defined figure. She 
equates closely with the Welsh goddess Don and 
may have been perceived originally as a fertiUty 
and vegetation spirit. 

Danu (2) 

Primordial goddess. Hindu (Vedic). The word 
Danu is used to describe the primeval waters and 
this deity is probably their embodiment. She is 
known as the mother of the demonic personaUty 
Vrtra, who engages in combat with, and is 
defeated by, the rain god Indra. In later Hin- 
duism she is perceived as a daughter of Daksa 
and the consort of Kasyapa. 

Daphne 

Oracular goddess. Greek. A number of oracular 
shrines were dedicated to her in various places in 
Asia Minor, including Antiocheia, Mopsuestia 
(Cilicia), Sura and Patara (Lycia), Telmessos 
(Caria). Represented by the laurel Daphne she is 



Unked with the Daphnephoria festivals honoring 
Apollo. Tradition has it that she was changed into 
the laurel to avoid sexual submission to the god. 

Daramulum 

Creator god. Australian aboriginal. Otherwise 
known as Gayandi he is the son of Baiame and 
BiRRAHGNOOLOO and is worshiped principally by 
the Wiradyuri and Kamilaroi groups of aborig- 
ines in the southeast of Austraha, who regard him 
as an intermediary between his father, the 
supreme being, and the human race. To an extent 
this role may have developed through Christian 
missionary influence. 

Darawigal 

Personification of evil. AustraUan aboriginal. This 
demonic deity stands opposed to Baiame, the cre- 
ator spirit who represents good in the world. He 
is generally recognized as an offspring of Baiame 
who once lived in the sky but fell from grace 
during the Dreamtime and was sent to the under- 
world as its ruler. From there he now dispenses 
death and sickness. 

Datin 

God. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. Frequently 
mentioned in inscriptions, but of uncertain 
function. 

Daya (compassion) 

Goddess. Hindu (Puranic) A Sakti of Acyuta 
(never falling), a minor aspect of the god ViSNU. 

Decima 

Goddess of birth. Roman. Generally Unked with 
the goddess NONA, she is responsible for watching 



Dena 73 



over the critical months of gestation. In later 

times the two were joined by the goddess of 
death, MORTA, to form of trio of fate goddesses, 
the Parcae. 

Dedwen 

God of riches and incense. Nubian. Virtually 
unknown Egyptianized deity to whom sanctuar- 
ies were dedicated by Tuthmosis III and who may 
have brought gifts from southern regions. 
Usually found in anthropomorphic form but 
occasionally depicted as a Hon. Also Dedun. 

DEMETER (mother) 

ORIGIN Greek. Vegetation and mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from circa 800 BC 

but probably earlier until Christianization 

(circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Damater (Dorian). 
center(s) of cult throughout Greek world 

including Agrigentum, Cnidos, Priene, Gela, 

Siris and Lokroi. Particularly at Eleusis. 
ART references various sculptures; terracottas 

showing votary priestesses holding piglets. 
LITERARY SOURCES Hymn to Demeter and 

Theogony (Hesiod). 

Demeter displays a complex personality which 
may be the result of syncretization in prehis- 
toric times between a goddess of the corn and 
one of the underworld. By Homeric times 
Demeter was a goddess of vegetation and death. 
In ancient Athens the dead were titled deme- 
treioi and corn was traditionally scattered on 
new graves. Demeter undergoes a yearly con- 
flict with Hades and a search for her lost 
daughter, or arguably her alter ego, since the 
personality of the missing maiden goddess 
Persephone or Kore (girl) is virtually inextri- 
cable from that of Demeter. 



The legends of Demeter and Persephone 
account for seasons of dearth and growth in the 
fields. Persephone, daughter of Demeter and 
Zeus, gathers flowers in a meadow surrounded 
by attendant Okeanides. As she picks one par- 
ticular bloom the earth opens and the under- 
world god, Hades, abducts her. Demeter 
searches the world for her daughter and neg- 
lects its prosperity in so doing. The gods, seeing 
that catastrophe beckons, intervene and Her- 
mes is sent to fetch the girl. There are condi- 
tions attached to her release, however, because 
she has tasted the pomegranate of Hades and is 
thus bound to the underworld. She may only 
enter the air above for nine months of the year. 
Eor the remaining three she must return and 
live as mistress of Hades. 

One of the most reasonable interpretations of 
the legend is that the three months when Perse- 
phone or Kore is in absence represent the three 
dry summer months when vegetation in the 
Mediterranean region shrivels away and when 
traditionally the grain was stored in underground 
silos. When the rains come in autumn the youth- 
ful aspect of Demeter returns. There are strong 
parallels with Mesopotamian and Hittite-Hur- 
rian legend (see Inana and DUMUZI; Hebat and 
Telepinu). 

The Demeter cult was practiced in many 
places, often with a high degree of secrecy and 
with initiation ritaals. Arguably the most famous 
cult center is Eleusis, where the legends provided 
a stimulus for the Eleusinian Mysteries. There also 
took place a women's festival of Thesmophoria, 
when pigs were buried alive in pits or megara. 
The sacrifice of young virgins to Demeter is 
reported but unsubstantiated. 

Dena 

Goddess. Persian [Iran]. The daughter of the god 
of light Ahura Mazda. 



74 Deng 



Deng 

Sky god. Nuer and Dinka [Sudan]. Considered to 
be a foreign deity in the Nuer pantheon and a 
bringer of disease. His daughter is the moon god- 
dess. In Dinka reUgion he is a storm and fertiUty 
god bringing Ughtning and rain. 

Dercetius 

Mountain god. Romano-Iberian. 
Derceto 

Mother goddess. Western Semitic (Phoenician). 
Derived from the Syrian model of Atargatis and 
worshiped locally. 

Deva (the god) 

Generic name of a god. Hindu (Vedic and 
Puranic). Originally, in the Rg Veda, thirty or 
thirty-three devas are indicated, divided into 
three groups of eleven. In later Hinduism, the 

term deva is generally applied to deities not 
included in the chief triad of Brahma, Visnu 
and SrvA. 

Devaki (divine) 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 

Daughter of Devaka and consort of the mythical 
king Vasud EVA, Devaki bore eight sons, includ- 
ing Krsna and Balarama. Her brother Kamsa 
believed that the eighth child would kill him and 
he slaughtered the first six sons. In order to save 
the remaining two, ViSNU implanted the "seed" 
of his avataras in Devaki's womb (in the form of 
hairs from his head), before transferring 
Balarama to the womb of the goddess Rohini 
and Krsna to Yasoda, the wife of a cowherd, 
Nanda. 



Devananda (delight of the gods) 

Goddess. Jain [India]. The mother of Mahavira. 

Devapurohita 

Astral god. Hindu (Puranic). An epithet for the 
planet god Jupiter. 

Devasena (heavenly host) 
Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). One of the consorts of 
Skanda who normally stands to his left. 
Attribute: lotus in the left hand. 

Deverra 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. A guardian of 
newborn children. SymboHzed by a broom used 
to sweep away evil influences. 

Devi (the goddess) 

Goddess epitomizing the active female principle. 

Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Devi evolved as a major 
goddess out of the older notion of mother and veg- 
etation goddesses. She is seen more as an abstract 
principle who will nevertheless respond directly to 
worshipers' prayers. By the fifth century AD she 
appears in many forms as the active (feminine) 
aspect or power of male deities. General attributes: 
conch, hook, noose, prayer wheel and trident. Devi 
is also the generic name given to a female deity, in 
her capacity as the consort of a god or DEVA. 
See also Sri(devi), Bhumidevi. 

Dhanada 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). One of the ema- 
nations of the DHMNiBUDDHA Amoghasiddhi, also 
a form of the goddess Tara. She sits upon a moon 
throne with an unnamed animal in attendance. 



Dharmadhatuvagrisvara 75 



Color: green. Attributes: book, blue lotus, image 
of Amoghasiddhi, noose and rosary. 

Dhanistha (very rich) 

Minor goddess of misfortune. Hindu (Puranic). 
A malevolent naksatra or astral deity; daughter 
of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). Also 
Sravistha. 

Dhanvantari (traveling through an arc) 
Sun god. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). In later 
tradition a minor incarnation or avatara of the 
god ViSNU, also closely associated with medicine. 
In Vedic mythology Dhanvantari carried the 
ambrosia created from the primeval ocean of milk. 
He brought medical science to mankind. Only as 
the religion evolved did he become identified as 
an avatara. As Kantatman (Pradyumna), he is 
thought to be Kama reincarnated after his death at 
the hands of SiVA. Various other epithets and exis- 
tences are attributed to this deity. Offerings are 
due to him at dusk in the northeastern quarter. He 
is the guardian deity of hospitals which are usually 
in the vicinity of a sanctuary of Visnu. Attributes: 
two bowls containing ambrosia. Also Kantatman. 

Dhara (supporting) 

Attendant god. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group 
of eight Vasu deities answering to the god Indra. 
Attributes: lotus, plough, rosary and spear. 

Dharani (earth) 

1. Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Consort 
of Parasurama and an avatara of the goddess 
Laksmi. 

2. Collective name for a group of deities. Bud- 
dhist. Twelve personifications of a particular kind 



of short mystical religious text used as a charm. 
Also dharini. 

DHARMA (justice) 
ORIGIN Hindu [India]. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 300 until 

present. 
SYNONYMS Dharme. 
center(s) of cult none specific. 
ART REFERENCES stone and metal sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES epic texts including 

Ramayana and Mahabharata; Puranic texts, but 

also see the Rg Veda. 

The god of law who originates as a creator god 
and one of the sons of Brahma, but almost cer- 
tainly derives from the dharmas or archetypal pat- 
terns of society identified in the Rg Veda. 
According to tradition he is the consort of thir- 
teen daughters of Daksa and the father of Yud- 
histhra. Also regarded as a minor avatara of 
ViSNU, appearing as a bull standing for the 
redemption of souls. 

In Bengali tradition Dharme (probably of the 
same derivation) has been annually engaged in a 
sacred marriage to the earth at the time of year 
when a tree known as the sal is blossoming. Birds 
are sacrificed in a sacred grove after which the 
tribe repairs to the hut of the village shaman and 
the marriage is enacted betw^een the priest and his 
wife, followed by a sexual free-for-all. 

Dharmadhatuvagisvara 

God of the law. Buddhist. A variety of Manjusri 
and therefore an emanation of Amitabha. Color: 
reddish-white. Attributes: arrow, bell, book, 
bow, hook, image of Amitabha on crown, staff, 
sword and water jar. Depicted with four heads 
and setting the law wheel in motion. 



76 Dharniakirtisagaraghosa 



Dhartnakirdsagaraghosa (sound of the 

ocean of the glory of the law) 
Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among one of a series of medicine 
buddhas known as a sMan-Bla in Lamaism. Typ- 
ically depicted with stretched earlobes. Color: red. 

Dharmamegha (cloud of the law) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of 
twelve deified Bhumis recognized as different 
spiritual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: blue. Attributes: book and staff. 

Dharmapala 

Collective name for a group of eight tutelary 
deities. Buddhist and particularly Lamaist [Tibet]. 
They wear royal apparel but are of terrible appear- 
ance and are considered to be the guardians of the 
law. General attributes: ax, cup, knife and snake. 

Dharmapratisamvit (analysis of nature) 
Goddess of natare analysis. Buddhist (Vajrayana). 
One of a group of four Pratisaiwvits. Color: 
whitish-red. Attributes: noose and staff with crook. 

Dhartnavasita (control of law) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
twelve Vasitas personifying the disciplines of 
spiritual regeneration. Color: white. Attributes: 
water jar on a red lotus. 

Dharti Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Puranic). A deity who 
appears late in Hinduism and equates with 
Prthivi or Bhumidevi. According to some 
authors she is the consort of Thakur Deo. Also 
Dhartri Mai, Darti Awwal. 



Dhatar (creator) 

Sun god. Hindu (Puranic). An original Vedic list 
of six descendants of the goddess Aditi or 
Adityas, all of whom take the role of sun gods 
was, in later times, enlarged to twelve, including 
Dhatar. Color: golden. Attributes: two lotuses, 
lotus rosary and waterjar. Also Dhatr. 

Dhisana 

Minor goddess of prosperity. Hindu (Vedic). 
Associated with the acquisition of wealth. Also 
the name given to a bowl of fermented drink 

or soma. 

Dhrtarastra (his empire is firm) 
Minor god. Buddhist. One of the dikpalas or 
guardians of the easterly direction. Color: white. 
Attribute: lute. 

Dhrti (firmness) 

Goddess. Jain [India] . A minor deity with no sig- 
nificant role or attributes. 

Dhruva (immovable) 

Astral god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The son of 
Uttanapada, a star in the constellation of Ursa 
Alinor which was the pole star in the last millen- 
nium BC. An avatara of ViSNU. Also one of a 
group of Vasu deities answering to the god INDRA. 
hi different context, the description of a kind of 
fixed icon. Attributes: prayer wheel, rosary, spear 
and water jar. 

Dhumavati (smoky) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of a 
group of ten Mahavidyas personifying the 
Sakti of Siva. Aspects include Darunaratri 



DIANCECHT 77 



(night of frustration), who is also regarded as 
one of the personifications of the goddess Sakti. 

Dhumoma (smoke) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The con- 
sort of Yama. Attribute: a pomegranate. 

Dhumravati 

Terrible goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Attributes: skull 
in the hand and garland of skulls, sword and tusks. 

Dhupa (incense) 

Mother goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of the ASTAMATARA mothers. Color: yellow. 
Attribute: a censer. 

Dhupatara (incense-Tara) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Color: 

black. Attribute: a censer. 

Dhurjati (with matted hair) 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A manifestation 

of Siva in which his body is smeared with ash. 

Dhvajagrakeyura (ring on a banner) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
AXSOBHYA. She sits on a sun throne. Color: dark 
blue, black or yellow. Attributes: club, image of 

Aksobhya, noose, pestle, prayer wheel, staff, 
sword, tiger skin and trident. Three-headed and 
three-eyed. 

Dhvajosnisa 

God. Buddhist. An USNISA deity apparently con- 
nected with the guardian deities or dikpalas in the 



southwestern quarter. Color: reddish-blue. 
Attributes: banner with jewel. 

Dhyanaparamita (perfection in meditation) 
Philosophical deity. Buddhist. A Paramita and 
spiritual offspring of Ratnasambhava. Color: 
darkish sky blue. Attributes: banner with jewel, 
and white lotus. 

Dhyanibuddha 

General name of a spiritual or meditation buddha. 
Buddhist (Vajrayana). An emanation of the 
Adibuddha and generally regarded as one of a 
group of five representing the cosmic elements. 
The mystic counterpart of a human buddha. 
When the five are represented as a group, their 
common attribute is a staff on a lotus. 

Dhyanibuddhasakd 

Collective name for a group of goddesses. Bud- 
dhist. The five Saktis of the Dhyanibuddhas. 
Common attributes include a cup and knife. 

Diana 

Moon goddess. Roman. Living in the forests, 
she is a huntress and protector of animals, also 
the guardian of virginity. Generally modeled on 
the Greek goddess Artemis, she had a sanctuary 
on the Aventine Hill in Rome and, under 
Roman rule, took over the Temple of Artemis at 
Ephesus. 

DIANCECHT 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Physician god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until Christianization circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none known. 



78 Diang 



center(s) of cult none specifically known. 
ART REFERENCES monumental carvings and reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of Kings. 

A god of whom limited description is given but 

who was clearly one of the more important mem- 
bers of the TuATHA De Danann band of Celtic 
deities in Ireland. Said to be the grandfather of 
Luc;. He possesses the skills to make every warrior 
whole again and is referred to as having made a sil- 
ver arm for the god NUADU who was injured in the 
legendary Battle of Moytura and who subsequently 
took the epithet Nuadu argatlam (Nuada of the 
silver arm). Mortally wounded Tuatha were bathed 
and revived in Diancecht's sacred well, Slane. 

Diang 

Cow goddess. Shilluk [Sudan]. Living along the 
west bank of the Nile, the Shilluk perceive Diang 
as the consort of the first human, Omara, sent by 
the creator god. Her son is Okwa, who married 
the crocodile goddess Nyakaya. Thus the three 
main elements of Shilluk life are contained in 
their religious beginnings — men (sky), cows 
(earth) and crocodiles (water). 

Dictyima 

Mother goddess. Cretan. She became syncretized 
vnth the Greek goddess Rhea. 

Didi Thakrun 

Plague goddess. Hindu [northern India]. Associ- 
ated wdth cholera. Worshiped locally at Bardvan. 

Dievs 

Sky god. Pre-Christian Latvian. He is depicted in 
the guise of a gentleman farmer wearing cap and 
sword and mounted on a horse, or driving a cart. 
Tradition has it that he first set free the sun. 



Digainbara (naked) 

Goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. The Sakti 
of Yogambara. Attribute: a bowl. 

NOTE: Digambara is also an epithet of the 
goddess Kali in Hindu religion. 

Dike 

Goddess of justice. Greek. The daughter of Zeus. 
Depicted as a maiden whom men violently abuse in 
the streets but who is honored by the gods and who 
reports to her father on the misdeeds of mankind, 
causing divine retribution. She is depicted on the 
Kypselos chest as an attractive woman strangling an 
ugly goddess of injustice, Adikia. 

Dikkumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 
general title of Bhavanavasi (dwelUng in places). 
They have youthful appearance and are associated 
vnth rain and thunder. 

Diksa (initiation) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The con- 
sort of Ugra and mother of Santana. Also the 
name of the Buddhist Tantric initiation ceremony. 

DIONYSOS 

ORIGEV Greek. God of wine and intoxication. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from circa 1500 BC 

and probably earlier through to Christianiza- 

tion circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Deunysos; Zonnysos; LiBER, BACCHUS 

(Roman). 

CENTER(s) OF CULT Pylos; Ayia Irini (Keos). 

ART REFERENCES chiefly Attic wine amphorae 
circa sixth century BC. 

LITERARY SOURCES Hymn to Dionysos (fragmen- 
tary — Homer); Catalogues (Hesiod). 



DISANI 79 



Dionysos is a deity associated with a curious form 
of mass, intoxicated frenzy encouraged by festi- 
vals of wine-drinking. He has a retinue of male, 
phallic satyrs wearing animal masks and joined 
by female maenads. Although a gigantic phallus 
was carried in rituals honoring Dionysos, he is not 
a fertility god and the phallic symboHsm is purely 
that of sexual arousal and carousal. Dionysos is 
the son of SeiVIELE and there is some argument 
that the cult originated in Phrygia or Lydia linked 
to that of Kybele and traveled via Mycenaean 
culture with sanctuaries in such places as Pylos 
and Keos. Greek women traditionally searched 
for Dionysos and it is possible that the Roman 
name Bacchus is of Semitic origin, meaning wail- 
ing (see Tammuz). Other authors have suggested 
that the personality of Dionysos emerged from 
Thrace and extended to Homeric Greece but this 
argument is now out of favor. Other than in the 
opening of the Homeric epic material, Dionysos 
scarcely appears in literature. 

There was a major wine-drinking festival 
(Ionic-Attic) known as the Anthesteria, Greater 
and Lesser Dionysia festivals with strongly phallic 
connotations and the sacrifice of goats, an ^gr/o- 
nia festival (Dorian-Aeolic) and most recently the 
Athenian celebration of Katagogia which marked 
the legend of Dionysos emerging from the sea 
and during which a ship was carried or drawn on 
wheels. 



Dipa Tara (lamp Tara) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Color: 

yellow. Attribute: a torch. 

Dipankara (light causer) 
Deity. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a minor 
group of buddhas. Color: yellow. Attributes: none 
in particular. 

Dipti (brightness) 

Minor goddess. Hindu (Puranic). No details 
available. 

Dirghadevi (long goddess) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Consort of 

the god NiRRTI. 

Dis Pater 

Chthonic underworld god. Roman. Modeled on 
the Greek god Hades. 

Disa (the ten directions of space) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Consort of 
SrvA in his terrible aspect of Bhima and mother of 
the minor god Sarga (creation). 



Dioskouroi 

Tvin gods. Greek. 
See also POLYDEUKES. 

Dipa (personification of the oil-lamp) 
Goddess of light. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Considered to be among the group of 
ASTAMATARAS (mothers). Color: blue or red. 
Attribute: a lamp. 



DISANI 

ORIGIN Kafir [Afghanistan — southern Hin- 
dukush]. Supreme fertility and mother 
goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP origins Uncertain 

and still persisting in parts today. 
SYNONYMS Disni (Prasun region); DizeUe. 
center(s) of cult throughout the Kafir 

region, particularly at the village of Shtiwe 

(Prasun). 



80 Disciplina 



ART REFERENCES large wooden sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES Robertson G.S. The Kafirs of 

the Hindukush {1896); Morgenstierne G. Some 

Rati Myths and Hymns {1951). 

Disani is the most important goddess of the 
1 lindukush, particularly revered by the Prasun 
people. Legend has it that she emerged 
from the right breast of the creator god IMRA. 
Alternatively she emerged from a sacred lake 
into which a sun disc had fallen, as a golden 
tree. Other legends place her as the daughter of 
the god SuDREM, or of INDR and the goddess 
Nangi-Wutr. She is the consort of Imra and 
other major deities in the pantheon and 
therefore bears strong fertility and maternal 
connotations. She has a son, Bagisht, con- 
ceived when she was raped by a demon. She also 
plays the role of huntress. Her home is said to 
be Sudrem. 

Disani is also a benign and comforting god- 
dess of death who carries the deceased into the 
House of the Great Mother. She is perceived in 
human form, armed with a bow and quiver, with 
streams of milk pouring from her breasts. She 
can appear as a wild goat from whose footprints 
spring the shoots of wheat, and symbolically as 
a tree (see Inana) whose roots embody the 
underworld Nirmali. Her cult centers seem to 
have been connected with the villages of Shtiwe, 
Bagramatal and Kamdesh. 

As goddess of death, Disani receives the prayers 
of women whose menfolk are about to go into 
combat. Legend has it that she lives in a golden 
fortress with seven doors and seven roads radiat- 
ing from it. As a fertiUty goddess she is a guardian 
of cattle. In her role as vegetation deity, she tills 
the land. She also sows, threshes and winnows 
grain. 

Sacrifice is in the form of a goat, or more usu- 
ally milk, butter and cheese. 



Disani is the protectress of the bonds of kin- 
ship and family loyalty. In conflict with this role 
she also inadvertently slaughtered her own son 
by decapitation, which gave rise to an annual 
spring rite of the dying god, witnessed in the reU- 
gions of many other agricultural and pastoral 
societies. 

Disciplina 

Minor goddess. Roman. Significant in the 
legions, known particularly from the second 
century BC. 

Discordia 

Minor goddess of dissent. Roman. Modeled on 
the Greek deity Eris. 

Disir 

Collective name for guardian goddesses. 
Nordic (Icelandic) and Germanic. They were the 
subject of a sacrificial ritual in autumn and have 
strong fertility connotations as vegetation and 
fertiUty deities. They are identified in the Sigr- 
drifumal (Poetic Edda) and include the Valkyries 
and Norns of Germanic mythology. 

Diti 

Goddess. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). The 
daughter of Daksa, a consort of Aditi (in 
the Rg Veda) or Kasyapa and the mother of a 
race of demons. Attributes: blue lotus, child and 
fruit. 
See also Aditi. 

Divona 

Fertility goddess. Celtic (GalUc). Associated with 
water and known only from inscriptions. 



Duillae 81 



Djila'qons 

Sea goddess. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte 
Island, Canada]. An old woman who lives at the 
head of a major inlet in Haida territory and con- 
trols all the creatures of the sea. 

Dogumrik 

Local guardian and warrior god. Kafir 
[Afghanistan]. Known from the village of 
Shtiwe in the southeastern Hindukush, Dogum- 
rik is the herdsman to the daughters of the god 
Imra and possibly a localized equivalent of the 
god MON. 

Dolichenus 

Weather god. Western Semitic (Syrian). 
Depicted bearded and standing upon a bull. 
Attributes include a double ax and Ughtning. He 
became syncretized with the Roman god 
Jupiter. 

Dombi 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist. One 
of a group of Gauri. Color: red or blue. Attribute: 
a banner. 

Don 

Mother goddess. Celtic (Welsh). Described in the 
Mabinogion as the progenitress of the Welsh pan- 
theon. Equates with the Irish goddess Danu. 

Donar 

Storm god. Germanic. The god of thunder whose 
symbol is either a hammer or an ax. The day 
name Donnerstag in modern German equates 
with Thursday, a corruption of Thor's day. 
See also Thor. 



Dongo 

Storm god. Songhai [Niger valley, West Africa]. 
The creator of thunderbolts, which are perceived 
as stone ax-heads. As the celestial smith he forges 
Ughtning and strikes a huge bell with his ax to 
generate thunder. 

Donn 

Chthonic tmderworld god. Celtic (Irish). Accord- 
ing to legend, he lives on an island to the south- 
west of Munster and is responsible for the passage 
of the dead toward the otherworld. 

Doris 

Sea goddess. Greek. Daughter of Okeanos and 
Tethys and consort of Nereus. In Hesiod's 
Theogony her children include Amphitrite and 
Thetis among many minor figures. 

Doudoun 

God of Nile cataracts. Nubian. Depicted as an 
antelope with twisted horns. His consorts are Sati 
and Anuket. Modeled on the Egyptian ram god 
Khnum. Also Dodonu. 
See also Anukis. 

Dsahadoldza (fringe mouth) 
Chthonic god of earth and water. Navaho [USA]. 
A number of deities are known under this title. 
The priest impersonating the god has one side of 
his body painted red and the other side black. He 
wears a buckskin mask painted with a horizontal 
yellow band to represent the evening sky and 
eight vertical black stripes to represent rain. 

Duillae 

Fertility and vegetation goddesses. Romano- 
Iberian. Comparable with the MATRES in Gaul. 



82 DulhaDeo 



DviUia Deo 

Minor god of the bridegroom. Hindu. Attribute: 
an ax hanging from a tree. 

DUMUZI 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylon- 
ian-Akkadian) [Iraq]. Shepherd and vegetation 
god; underworld god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3500 BC or 
earlier to circa 200 BC. 

SYNONYMS Damn; Ama-usum-gal-ana; Tammuz 
(Hebrew). 

center(s) OF CULT none. 

ART REFERENCES plaques; votive stelae; glyptics, 
etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES cimeiform texts including the 
Inana's Descent and the Death of Dumuzi. 

Dumuzi, as popularly understood, is a male 
deity who in mythical times was the tutelary 
god of the city of Bad-tibira between Lagas and 
Uruk in southern Mesopotamia. It is believed 
that there was also a goddess Dumuzi from Kin- 
unir near Lagas. The two became syncretized as 
the single male personality who occupies a spe- 
cial place in the Sumerian pantheon as the con- 
sort of the goddess Inana. He is the first "dying 
and rising" god to be historically recorded by 
name. 

Dumuzi is particularly associated with the date 
palm. He is commanded by Inana (who is herself 
under a pledge to the goddess Ereskigal) to 
enter the underworld for a period of each year, 
which accounts for the seasonal demise of the 
green world to drought. 

His worshipers were chiefly women but his 
cult was very widespread and as late as BibUcal 
times there are references to women "weeping 
for Tammuz." It may be argued that Dumuzi is 
the model on which later gods including Adonis 



are modeled. In Syriac tradition he is the son of 
the mortal father Kautar (Aramaic: Kosar). 
See also KOTAR. 

Dur 

Chthonic underworld god. Kassite [Iran]. Equates 
with the Babylonian-Akkadian god Nergal. 

Durangama (going far away) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of sev- 
eral deified Bhumis recognized as different spir- 
itual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: green. Attributes: staff on a great lotus. 

DURGA 

ORIGIN Hindu (Puranic) [India]. Vengeful war- 
rior goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400 (but 

probably known from earUer times) until present. 
SYNONYMS KUMARI; Shakti; Agni-Durga (eight- 
armed); Aparajita (unconquered). 

CENTER(S) OF CULT none. 

ART REFERENCES sculptares generally bronze but 

also stone. Reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES chiefly Ramayana and Mahab- 

harata epics and Puranic texts, but mentioned 

by name in Vedic Uteramre. 

Durga is one of the angry and aggressive aspects of 
the goddess Sakti, whose earUest role in Hindu 
mythology is to fight and conquer demons but who 
also personifies the Sakti or female aspect of any 
male deity. Iconographically Durga is depicted as 
a beautiful golden-skinned woman who rides upon 
a Hon or a tiger. She has eight or ten arms, each 
bearing a weapon presented to her by different 
gods and including the conch shell of ViSNU, the 
trident of SiVA, the bow of Rama and the sudarshan 



DYAUSPITAR 83 



(spoked disc) of Krsna. These gifts extend to her 
the power of the eight or ten gods. She may wear 
a necklace of skulls. She is associated with the 
Himalaya and Vindhya mountains and is often 
depicted slaughtering the buffelo-demon Mahisa 
by thrusting her trident into his body. 

In a contrasting aspect in later Hindu 
traditions, Durga takes the role of a mother 
goddess and consort of Siva and becomes partly 
syncretized with Parvati. She is also linked with 
the fertility of crops. In this capacity her 
most important festival is the Durga Puja, cele- 
brated at harvest time, during which devotees 
persistently make obscene gestures and com- 
ments to stimulate her fecundity. She is 
depicted flanked by four other deities, Laksmi, 
Sarasvati, Ganesa and Karttikeya, who are 
said to be her children. 

In general Durga is perceived in northern India 
as the gentle bride epitomizing family unity, while 
in southern India she is revered more in her war- 
Uke and murderous aspect. 

Durjaya (unconquerable) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of the god BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Dusara (Hhe one ' of sard) 
Local tutelary god. Western Semitic 
(Nabataean). Associated with vegetation and fer- 
tility in the Hauran region from about 312 BC 
until circa AD 500. Regarded as a supreme deity, 
comparable to Baal Samin, who never achieved 
Dusara's popularity among the nomadic 
Nabataeans, for whom farming was precarious. 
He was represented by a black obelisk at Petra. 
Sacred animals are the eagle and panther. Attrib- 
utes include a vine stem. In Hellenic times he 
was the subject of inscriptions at Delos and 



Miletus and he was equated with DiONYSOS. 
Also Dusares; Dus-Sara. 

Duzhi 

Local god of \mcertain affinities. Kafir [Afghan- 
istan]. Known only from an altar stone which 
was generally erected beside that of the water 
god Bagisht. Sacrifice was in the form of a male 
goat. 

Dvipakumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 
general title of Bhavanavasi (dwelhng in places). 
They are of youthftil appearance and associated 
with rain and thunder. 

DYAUS PITAR (heaven father) 
ORIGIN Hindu (Vedic) [India]. Creator god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1500 BC or 

earlier until present. 
SYNONYMS the Sanskrit dyaus is derived from 

the Indo-European root which also gives 

Deus (Roman); Zeus (Greek); Tyr (German), 

etc. 

center(s) OF CULT none specific. 
art REFERENCES none. 

literary SOURCES Rg-veda and other Vedic 
texts. 

Dyaus pitar is a creator god associated with 
the goddess Prthivi; the primordial couple are 
normally addressed as Dyavaprthivi. Between 
them they created the rest of the Vedic pantheon, 
placed heaven and earth in conjunction with one 
another and generally preserved the cosmic order. 
Dyaus is overshadowed and superseded by the 
rain god INDRA in later Hindu tradition, possibly 
because he was brought into India by the Aryan 



84 Dzivaguru 



settlers from the north who had been used to a 
cold, bleak climate and who needed a supreme 
deity more relevant to a hot, dry environment. 

Dzivaguru 

Chthonic mother goddess. Korekore (Shona) 
[northern Zimbabwe, southern Africa]. Originally 



said to have ruled both heaven and earth and 
lived in a palace by a sacred lake near Dande. 
She is depicted wearing goatskins and bearing 
a cornucopia holding magical substances. 
Her sacred creatures are mythical golden 
sunbirds, probably modeled on swallows, a 
pair of which were actually discovered in 
Zimbabwe. 



E 



E Alom (conceiver of children) 
Primeval creator goddess. Mayan (Quiche, classi- 
cal Mesoamerican) [Guatemalan highlands]. The 
consort of E Quaholom, identified in the 
sacred Maya book, the Popol Vuh. Her son is 
GUKUMATZ, the counterpart of the Aztec god 
QUETZALCOATL. Also Bitol. 

E Quaholom (begetter of children) 
Primeval creator god. Mayan (Quiche, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Guatemala highlands]. Identi- 
fied in the sacred Maya book the Popol Vuh. The 
consort of the goddess E Alom and the father of 
GuKUMATZ who equates with the Aztec QUET- 
ZALCOATL. Also Tzacol. 

EA 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) 
[Iraq]. God of primordial waters. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSfflP circa 1900 BC tO 

circa 200 BC. 
SYNONYMS Ea-sarru; Enki (Sumerian). 
center(s) OF CULT Eridu, Babylon. 
ART REFERENCES glyptics and other carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES cuneiform texts including 

Enuma Elis, Epic Of Gilgames, Nergal and 

Ereskigal etc. 



One of the major deities in the old Babylonian- 
Akkadian pantheon who evolved from the model 
of Enki. God of sweet water and of wisdom. His 
consort is DAiVIKINA and his temple is the Apsu 
house or E-engurra in Eridu (lost). By the neo- 
Babylonian period his popularity as a major deity 
had waned and he was relegated to the role of 
father of the god Marduk. 

Eacus 

Weather god. Romano-Iberian. Known from the 
area of Castille and syncretized with the local 
Roman deity Jupiter Solutorius. 

Ebisu 

God of luck. Shinto [Japan]. The most popular 
of seven gods of fortune recognized in Shinto- 
ism and frequently linked with the god 
Daikoku. He is depicted as a fat, smiling and 
bearded fisherman holding a fishing rod in one 
hand and a sea bream in the other. The name 
does not appear in the classical sacred texts 
Nihongi and Kojiki, but Ebisu is known to 
have been worshiped in ancient times among 
fishermen. From about the sixteenth century 
his character changed and he became a deity 
associated with profit. Thus he is a patron of 



85 



86 Edeke 



commerce and his picture hangs in most estab- 
lishments. He is perhaps syncretized with the 
gods HiRUKO and Koto-Shiro-Nushi. He may 
also be identified with Fudo, the god of knowl- 
edge. He does not join the rest of the Shinto 
pantheon in the great October festival at Izumo 
because he is deaf His festival is celebrated con- 
currently in his own temple. 

Edeke 

God of disasters. Teso [Uganda, East Africa] . The 

antagonist of the creator god APAP, Edeke is pro- 
pitiated during times of famine and plague. 

Edusa 

Minor god of infants. Roman. Responsible for 
the proper nourishment of the child. 

Eee-A-O (Fao) 

Primordial being. Gnostic Christian. The first of 

the androg\'nous principles born to Yaldabaoth, 
the prime parent, ruling the seven heavens of 
chaos in gnostic mythology. 

Egeria 

Eertility goddess. Roman. Deity of oak trees 

whose priestess enacted an annual sacred mar- 
riage with the king of Rome, who took the part of 
Jupiter. The festival is a variation of that cele- 
brating the marriage of Zeus and Hera which 
took place in Athens. A number of springs and 
lakes were sacred to her. 

Egres 

Eertility god. Karelian [Einland]. The deity 
responsible for the turnip crop. Also Akras. 



Ehecad 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The sun deity representing the second 
of the five world ages, each of which lasted for 
2028 heavenly years, each heavenly year being 
fifty-two terrestrial years. Assigned to the air or 
wind and presided over by Quetzalcoatl, to 
whose complex of deities he belongs. According 
to tradition, the age ended in a cataclysmic 
destruction caused by hurricanes. All humanity 
turned into monkeys. Illustrated by the "Stone of 
the Eour Suns" [Yale Peabody Museum]. Also (4) 
Ehecatl; Ehecatonatiuh. 

Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl 

Primordial god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A syncretization of Ehecatl and 
Quetzalcoatl, one of four gods who support 
the lowest heaven at each cardinal point. He is 
perceived as residing in the west (codices Borgia 
and Vaticanus B). He is the deity who rules 
over the ninth of the thirteen heavens, Itztapal 
Nanatzcayan (where the stone slabs crash 
together). In a separate tradition, Ehecatl- 
Quetzalcoatl executed the monstrous god 
XOLOTL when he declined to offer his blood in 
self-sacrifice for the creation of mankind. 

EILEITHYIA (the coming) 

ORIGIN Greek and previously Mycenaean. God- 
dess of birth. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1 500 BC untU 
Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Eleuthyia (possibly original Minoan); 
lUthyia (Roman). 

center(s) of cult chiefly in Crete where there 
exists an early (Mycenaean) cave sanctuary at 
Amnisos, and in the region of Lakonia. 

ART references sculptures and reliefs. 



EL 87 



LITERARY SOURCES Theogony and Hymn to Apollo 
(Hesiod). 

Primarily worshiped by women, Eileithyia is 
called upon specifically to ease the pain and dan- 
ger of childbirth. It was said that the cries of labor 
summoned her presence. The daughter of Zeus 
and Hera and the sibUng of Hebe and Ares, she 
assisted at the birth of Apollo. Her role is later 
largely superseded by Artemis. The name is also 
used in a plural collective sense (reflecting the 
practice of women in a neighborhood coming 
together to assist at childbirth). In Sparta there 
was allegedly a running track at the end of which 
was a temple to Eileithyia. 

Eirene 

Goddess of peace. Greek. The daughter of Zeus 
and Themis and the sister of Horae, Ddce and 
EUNOMIA. 
See also HOURS. 

Eji Ogbe 

Tutelary god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
The so-called "king" of the pantheon and men- 
tioned in a legend of the dove which is a symbol 
of prosperity. 

Ek Chuah 

Grod of merchants. Mayan (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. Also the deity responsible for the 
cacao crop. (The cacao bean was traditionally the 
standard currency throughout Mesoamerica.) 
Probably of Putun origin, he is typically depicted 
painted black, except for a red area around the Hps 
and chin. He has a distinctive downwardly pro- 
jecting lower Hp, horseshoe shapes around each 
eye and a highly elongated nose. He may also 
bear a scorpion's tail. Other attributes include a 



carrying strap in his headdress and sometimes a 
pack on his back. Also God M. 

Ekadasarudra 

Collective name for a group of gods. Hindu. The 
eleven forms of the god RUDRA, each typically 
represented with sixteen arms. Common attrib- 
utes include ax, moon disc and tiger skin. 

Ekajata (she who has but one chignon) 
Goddess of good fortune. Buddhist (Varjayana). 
She offers happiness and removes personal obsta- 
cles. Occasionally found attending the goddess 
Khadirayani-Tara. She is an emanation of Aksob- 
HYA and a form of Tara. She may have one or 
twelve heads. Color: blue. Attributes: arrow, ax, 
bell, blue lotus, book, bow, conch, cup, hook, 
image of Amitabha on the crown, knife, noose, 
skuU, staff, sword and tiger skin. Three-eyed. 

Ekanetra (on e-eyed) 

Minor deity. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 
a group of emancipated Vidyesvaras (lords of 
knowledge) considered to be aspects of SiVA. 
Virtually identical with Ekarudra, but with a 
single eye. 

Ekarudra 

Minor deity. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 

a group of emancipated ViDYESVARAS (lords of 
knowledge) considered to be aspects of SiVA. 
Virtually identical with EKANETRA, but with 
normal eyes. 

EL 

ORIGIN Western Semitic regions and Israel 
(northern Hebrew tribes) [Syria, Lebanon and 
Israel]. Creator god. 



88 Elagabal 



KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 2500 BC to 
700 BC. 

SYNONYMS et elyon (most high god); et sadday (god 
of the mountain); et olam (everlasting god); et 
betel (god of storms), IL [southern Arabian]. 

center(s) OF CULT Tirzah, Samaria, Bethel, 
Dan and many local hill shrines. 

ART REFERENCES none extant other than from 
later artists. 

LITERARY SOURCES Vetus Testantentum; Qum' 
Ran texts. 

Modeled on the creator god of the Canaanites, 
II, represented by the bull and revered by the 
Hebrew tribes who settled northern Palestine. 
According to some Ugaritic (Ras Samra) texts, 
not the original creator but the offspring of an 
older principal, El-eb (god of the father). In 
Biblical texts the word el comes to be used in a 
descriptive sense as a qualifying epithet meaning 
"lord." Possibly El came to represent the sum of 
all the creator spirits of the northern tribes. 
Israel was unwilling to part with the name 
against pressure from the southern state of Judah 
(see Yhwh), but the name fell into disuse after 
suppression of Israel by Tiglathpileser II 
(Assyria). The Hebrew term elohim may denote 
an "upper tier" of great gods while ELIM applies 
to a lower order of deities. 

NOTE: Biblical traditions were carried by the 
southern state of Judah. The impression is given 
that El is a distant, vaguely defined figure per- 
ceived in human form — "he" is able to see, hear, 
walk and touch — though no images in human 
form seem to have been created. El was appar- 
ently symbolized in Israel from circa 922 BC 
again by the bull calf (I Kings 12), probably 
emulating the Canaanite precedent. The voice 
of El is said to be like thunder, the clouds are his 
chariot and he waters the mountains from 
heaven. 



Elagabal (lord of the mountain) 
Local tutelary god. Syrian. Probably originat- 
ing as a mountain deity with strong solar links. 
His sacred animal is the eagle. His cult was based 
on the town of Emesa [Homs], where he was 
worshiped in the form of a dome-shaped, black 
stone obelisk. His name became Hellenized as 
Heliogabalos. 

El'eb 

Primordial god. Western Semitic (Canaanite). 
In some texts the god El (II) is not the original 
being but is preceded by a father figure. 
El-EB translates as "god the fether." 
See also Yaldabaoth. 

Elim 

Collective term for gods. Judaic. Found in the 
Vetus Testantentum and distinguishing the lower 
order of gods from the great deities, ELOHIM. 

Elkunirsa 

Creator god. Western Semitic (Canaanite) and 
Hittite. Allegedly borrowed and modified from 
the Canaanite god II. His consort is Aserdus 
(Canaanite: ASERTu). 

EUaman (lady of the boundary) 
Goddess of passage. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil) 
[southern India]. A goddess guarding boundaries 
of villages and fields. One of the Navasakti or 
astral deities. Also Ellaiyamman. 

EUel 

Creator god. Hittite and Hurrian. Derived from 
the Babylonian-Akkadian god Ellil. 



ENKI 89 



EUil 

Creator god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). 
See also Enlil. 

Eloai 

Primordial being. Gnostic Christian. The second 
of the androgynous principles born to Yald- 
ABAOTH, the prime parent, ruling the seven heav- 
ens of chaos in Gnostic mythology. 

Elohim 

Collective term for gods. Judaic. Found in the 
Vetus Testamentum and distinguishing the higher 
order of great gods from the minor deities, ELM. 
Also applied to the Israelite god Yhwh. 

Emeli Hin 

Creator god. Tuareg [central Sudan]. A generic 
title meaning "my lord." 

Eme'mqut 

Animistic spirit. Siberian Koryak. See 
Qudonn.a'qu. 

Emes 

Vegetation god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Emes was created at the wish of Enlil to take 
responsibility on earth for woods, fields, sheep 
folds and stables. He is identified with the abun- 
dance of the earth and with summer. An uniden- 
tified deity who is depicted iconographically with 
a plough may well be Emes. 

Enbilulu 

River god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). In creation mythology he is 



placed in charge of the sacred rivers Tigris and 
Euphrates by the god Enki. He is also god of 
canals, irrigation and farming. In Babylonian 
times he becomes the son of Ea and is syncretized 
with Adad. 

Endouellicus 

Chthonic oracular and healing god. Romano- 
Iberian. Known from the Portuguese region. 
Probably the recipient of pig sacrifice. 

Endursaga (lofty mace) 
Herald god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). He leads 
the Sumerian pantheon particularly in times of 
conflict. Also ISUM (Akkadian). 

ENKI (lord of the soul) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. Cre- 
ator god; god of wisdom; god of sweet water. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 3500 BC to 
circa 1750 EC. 

SYNONYMS Ea (god of the deep, Akkadian); 
Lugal-id(ak) (owner of the river); Lugal- 
abzu(ak) (owner of the deeps); NUDIMMUD 
(image fashioner). 

Center{s) of worship probably at Eridu (Abu 
Sahrain), but known only from literature. 

ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae, glyptics. 

LITERARY SOURCES Creation epics including ^rro- 
hasis, Enkiandthe World Order, temple hymns etc. 

As god of water in its capacity to nourish the earth, 
Enki is one of the major Sumerian deities. The son 
of An and Nammu, he is considered by some to be 
a late entry to the pantheon. His consort is Damk- 
ina and his sanctuary at Eridu is E-en^rra. He is 
usually represented as a figure in typical horned 
headdress and tiered skirt with two streams of water 



90 Enkimdu 



(Tigris and Euphrates) springing from his shoulders 
or from a vase and including leaping fish. He may 
also hold the eagle-Uke Imdugud (thunder) bfrd, 
thus signifying clouds rising from the waters. His 
foot may rest on an ibex. Among his offspring are 
ASalluha, Nin-sar (by Ninhursaga), Nin-imma 
(by Ninkurra) and Uttu (by NmMAH). 

Enki is a complex and, at times, MachiavelUan 
character. The running of day-to-day affairs is 
left to him and in the creation mythology he 
organized the earth and estabUshed law and order. 
He is also seen in a heroic Ught, having been one 
of three principal deities engaged in the primor- 
dial battle between good and evil, the latter per- 
sonified in the dragon Kur. In the Sumerian 
creation epic Enki set out in a boat to avenge the 
abduction by Kur of the goddess Ereskigal. Kur 
fought back with huge stones. 

Enki is perceived to fill the Tigris and Euphrates 
with sacred sweet water. He also appoints various 
other minor deities to their duties in connection 
with the well-being of the natural world. Addi- 
tionally he is god of artists and craftsmen. 

According to one legend, Enki generated the 
plants from his semen and inside his body until it 
made him ill, whereupon Ninhursaga placed him 
in her own vagina and gave birth to his progeny. 
Inana, Ninhursaga and Enlil are variously 
drawn, at times, as serious adversaries. 

Enkimdu 

God of canals and ditches. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian). In creation mythology he is given his 
task by the god Enki. 
See also Enbilulu. 

ENLIL (lord wind?) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. God 
of the air. 

KNOWN period OF WORSHIP circa 3500 BC or 
earlier to circa 1750 EC. 



SYNONYMS Ellil; IM; Ilu; Nunamnir. 

CENTER(s) OF CULT Nippur, Dur Kurigalzu, but 
also at Eridu and Ur. 

ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae and glyp- 
tics. 

literary sources creation texts, particularly 
the Lament of Ur and Creation of the Hoe; tem- 
ple hymns including the Hymn to Enlil, etc. 

Enlil is the son of the primordial An and Ki. The 
tutelary deity of Nippur where, in his honor, the 
Ekur sanctuary was built (not re-discovered), he 
was the most important god of southern 
Mesopotamia during the third millennium EC. 
His consort is NiNLlL who was impregnated by 
the "waters of Enlil" to create the moon god 
Nanna. (In the Akkadian pantheon his consort 
becomes Mulliltu.) He is depicted in horned 
headdress and tiered skirt, or by a horned crown 
on a pedestal. According to the "Hymn to Enlil" 
he works alone and unaided. He is said to have 
made the pick-ax, "caused the good day to come 
forth" and "brought forth seed from the earth." 
He was invoked to bless his cities and ensure 
prosperity and abundance. His importance was 
such that the tutelary gods of other cities "trav- 
eled" to Nippur with offerings to Enlil. Enlil cre- 
ated several deities concerned with overseeing 
the natural world. In his more destructive aspect 
he allowed the birth goddess to kill at birth and 
was responsible for miscarriage in cows and ewes. 
He was seen as manifesting himself in both 
benevolence and destructive violence. Because of 
his peculiarly national status he became down- 
graded in the Babylonian and Assyrian pan- 
theons, being superseded respectively by 
Marduk and AssuR. 

Emnesarra 

Chthonic god of the law. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian- Akkadian). According to texts 
he controls the me's or divine rules. 



EPONA 91 



Ennead 

The Heliopolis pantheon. Egyptian (Lower). The 
nine major deities enumerated and given their 
genealogy by the priesthood of Hehopohs, the 
center of the sun-worshiping cult in Lower Egypt. 
Comprising the sun god Atum (or Atum-Re) and 
his offspring, Su, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, 
Seth and Nephthys. Other Egyptian cult centers 
possessed similar pantheons though not necessar- 
ily including the same list of deities. Thus, for 
example, the god Ptah presided at Thebes. 

Ennugi 

God. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian- 
Akkadian). The attendant and throne-bearer of 
Enlil (Ellil). 

Enten 

Fertility god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Created 
by Enlil as a guardian deity of farmers alongside 
the minor god Emes, Enten was given specific 
responsibihty for the fertihty of ewes, goats, cows, 
donkeys, birds and other animals. He is identified 
with the abundance of the earth and with the win- 
ter period. 

Enundu 

Plague god. Gishu [Uganda, East Africa]. A god 
identified with smallpox and propitiated with the 
sacrifice of a goat. 

Enzu 

God. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). The 
name is a corruption, apparently a misreading of 
Suen, the archaic form of SiN. 

Eos 

Sky goddess. Hellenized Indo-European. The 
spirit of the dawn. She is the daughter of 



Hyperion and Thea, and the sister of Helios 
(sun) and Selene (moon). The consort of Aeo- 
LOS, the storm god son of POSEIDON, she bore six 
children who represent the various winds. Hesiod 
accounts her as the consort of Astraeos. In sepa- 
rate tradition she is the mother of Menmon who 
was slain at Troy, and her tears are the morning 
dew. 
See also AURORA. 

Eostre 

Eertility goddess of spring. Anglo-Saxon. The 
derivation of "Easter." Probably a number of the 
obscure folk customs surrounding Easter and still 
practiced in England trace back to her worship. 

Epimetheus 

Minor creator god. Greek and Roman. One 
of the four sons of Iapetos and Klymene 
(Titan), and the brother of Prometheus. 
Jointly responsible for the creation of mankind. 

Epimetheus' strongest claim to fame lies in his 
liaison with the first mortal woman. Pandora, 
whom the gods had cautioned him to avoid. 
Her curiosity caused her to open the box 
belonging to JUPITER in which he had placed all 
the vices, diseases and sufferings of humanity, 
but which also included the benevolent spirit 
of hope. 

EPONA (mare) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Gallic). Horse goddess with fer- 
tihty connotations. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC and 
probably earlier until Christianization (circa 
AD 400). 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult probably originating from 
Alesia in Gaul but spreading extensively, 
including Rome. 



92 Erebos 



ART REFERENCES Stone and bronze statuettes 
(mainly Luxembourg and Cote d'Or); various 
monumental carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES inscriptions. 

A popular equestrian goddess closely allied with 
the Celtic trade in, and domestic use of, horses. 
Concerned with healing and with the fertility of 
domestic animals. The cult probably originated 
from Alesia in the heartland of Gallic resistance 
and location of Vercingetorix's final stand against 
JuUus Caesar. She is arguably the only Celtic god- 
dess to have been worshiped in Rome itself and 
her popularity was spread throughout the regions 
of Roman occupation (see also MORRIGAN). Her 
festival was celebrated on December 18. 

Epona is typically depicted with mares and 
foals, usually riding side-saddle or merely in asso- 
ciation with horses. She also holds cornucopiae, 
sheaves of corn and other fruits suggesting an 
ancillary role as a vegetation goddess. Epona is 
also, on occasion, linked with dogs and birds. 

Votive inscriptions have been found at Allerey, 
Armangon and Essay (Cote d'Or), Jabrcilles, 
Luxeuil, Santanay and others where sometimes she 
is alone with horse(s) and sometimes is depicted 
with the "mothers" (see Matres). She was partic- 
ularly worshiped by Roman cavalry regiments. At 
Armangon she rides in a cart reminiscent of the 
"tour" of other northern fertility goddesses (see 
Nerthus). In other circumstances Epona figurines 
are found associated with burial grounds such as La 
Horgue au Sablon illustrating the common link, 
well attested in ancient and modern cults, between 
fertility and death. Epona may also be enshrined 
close to thermal springs under which circumstance 
she often appears naked like a water nymph e.g. 
Allerey and Saulon-la-Chapelle. 

Erebos 

Primordial deity. Greco-Roman. Engendered by 
Chaos and Nyx, he formed an incestuous liaison 



with his mother to create the first elements of the 
cosmos. Aether (light) and Hemera (day), in pre- 
Homeric mythology. 

ERESKIGAL (the great below) 

ORIGEV Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylon- 
ian-Akkadian) [Iraq]. Chthonic underworld 
goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3500 BC or 

earlier to 200 BC or later. 
SYNONYMS AlLATU(m). 

center(s) of cult none. 
ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae, glyptics, 
etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Creation epics and other texts 
including Inana's Descent and the Death of 
Dumuzi. 

Ereskigal is the consort of Nergal and queen of 
the underworld. She is also the mother of 
NiNAZU. According to some texts she was once 
a sky goddess who was abducted by the mon- 
strous deity Kur. She lives in the palace of 
Ganzir and equates with the Greek Perse- 
phone. Arguably, Ereskigal may be seen as a 
dark alter ego of the goddess In.\na and is iden- 
tified in some texts as her elder sibling. Her con- 
sort is also identified as Gugulana. In legend 
Ereskigal is challenged by Inana but after judg- 
ment by the seven Annunaki, the underworld 
goddess renders her a corpse for three days until 
she is revived through the intervention of Enki, 
the god of wisdom. In western Semitic pan- 
theons Ereskigal becomes Allatu. 

Erh Lang (master) 

Tutelary deity. Chinese. Associated with a celes- 
tial dog, Erh Lang was once honored with a 
sanctuary in Beijing (Peking). According to tra- 
dition he and the dog saved the city from flood- 
ing. His attributes include a bow which he is 



Eshu 93 



depicted drawing, and arrows. The dog may be 
replaced by a rat, in which case the arrows are 
not included. The rat is a sign of impending 
wealth and therefore the drawing of an empty 
bow at the rat is a sign which invokes wealth of 
children. 

Erinys 

Chthonic goddess of wrath. Greek. According to 
legend she was a consort of Poseidon by whom 
she bore the fabulous horse Areon. By impUcation 
she may also have been a grim maternal figure 
who engendered all horses. She may be equated 
with a wrathful Demeter who is sometimes given 
the epithet Erinys. Erinys appears in the collec- 
tive form of three Erinyes, their heads covered 
with snake-locks and bearing torches from the 
underworld. In the Iliad they are described as 
those "who beneath the earth punish dead men, 
whoever has sworn a false oath." In Roman 
mythology they are the Furies. 

Eris 

Goddess of dissent or strife. Greek. The consort 
of Ares, the god of war, and the mother of 
HORKOS (oath). She is depicted throwing the 
apple of discord among guests at a wedding, 
offering it "to the fairest" to provoke argument. 
In Roman mythology she becomes DiSCORDlA. 

Eriu 

Fertility goddess. Celtic (Irish). An aspect of the 
MORRIGAN. One of the deities who were known 
as the "Sovereignty of Ireland" and wedded sym- 
bolically to a mortal king. Also a warrior goddess, 
capable of changing shape from girl to hag, and 
into birds and animals. She is patroness of the 
royal seat of Uisnech in County Meath. Eire and 
Erin are corruptions of her name. 
See also Bade. 



Erldlek 

Hunting god. Inuit [North America]. A malev- 
olent deity with the head and nose of a dog and 
the body of a man. He carries a bow, with 
arrows contained in a quiver, and is an expert 
archer. 

Eros 

Primordial deity. Greco-Roman. One of the chil- 
dren of Aether and Hemera in the pre-Homeric 
cosmos. Listed in Hesiod's Theogony as one of 
three archetypal beings with Chaos and Gaia. 
Also Amor (Roman). 

Erra 

God of war. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akka- 
dian). Known chiefly from the Erra Epic, circa 
1000 BC, he is also the god of raids, riots and 
scorched earth. Closely identified with the god 
Nergal, his cult center is Emeslam in the city of 
Kutha (lost). In Babylonian times he is identified 
as a plague god. 

Erua See ZARPANrru(M). 

Es 

Creator god. Ket [Siberian]. Described as an old 
man with a long black beard, he fashioned the 
first humans from clay. Those tossed from his 
right hand became men, and those from his left 
became women. 

Eshu 

Itinerant god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
An ancient deity regarded as the attendant 
and messenger of the creator god Olodumare. 

He passes among mortal people assessing 
character and meting out punishment. Devotees 



94 Esmun 



are identified by necklaces of black or brown 
beads. 

Esmun 

God of healing. Western Semitic (Phoenician). 
Known first from the Iron Age levels at Sidon, 
his cult spread as far as Carthage, Cyprus 
and Sardinia. Possibly became syncretized 
with the god Melqart and, in Hellenic times, 
with the physician god ASKLEPIOS. His name 
further became linked with the mother goddess 
Caelestis. 

Estsanadehi (ivoman that changes) 
Fertility goddess. Navaho [USA]. Probably 
regarded as the most powerful deity in the 
Navaho pantheon, she has powers of endless 
self-rejuvenation. According to tradition, she 
was created from a small turquoise image into 
which life was infused through a ritual of the 
great gods and she is the sister of the goddess 
YOLKAi ESTAN. She is also the consort of the 
sun god TsOHANOAi and the mother of the war 
god Nayenezgani. She is said to live in the west 
and is benevolent in nature, sending the gentle 
rains of summer and the warm thawing winds of 
spring. 

Esu 

God of passage. Edo [Benin and Nigeria, West 
Africa]. A fearsome deity who stands at the gates 



of the home of the gods holding a set of keys. He 
is known for his trickery. 

Esus 

God of war. Celtic (Continental European). Men- 
tioned by the Roman writer Lucan but otherwise 
virtually unknown. He may have originated as a 
tree god. One carving [Trier] identifies Esus 
felling a tree with birds in the branches (see 
also Inana). Elsewhere he is associated with three 
cranes and a bull. 

Eiinomia 

Goddess of order. Greek. One of the children of 
Zeus and Themis, her siblings include the 
Horae, Dike and Eirene. 
See also HOURS. 

Euros 

God of the east vnnds. Greco-Roman. One of the 
sons of Eos. Particularly known from Sparta and 
later Romanized as Eurus. 

Eurynome 

Sea goddess. Greek. The daughter of Nisos and 
mother of the Graces. Also the mother of Belle- 
pheron, fathered by Poseidon, though she is 
accounted as the consort of Glaukos. Little else 
is known, but her cult center was apparentiy at 
Phigaleia (Arcadia). 



F 



Fabulinus 

Minor god of infants. Roman. Responsible for 
the first words of the child. 

Faivarongo 

God of mariners. Polynesian [Tikopia]. The 
eldest son of a being known as Ariki Kafika 
Tuisifo, he is a patron and guardian of seafarers 
and is also regarded as the origin of the royal 
Tikopian lineage. Also known as the "grandsire 
of the ocean." He is closely linked with the 
chthonic god TiFENUA and the sky god Atua I 
Kafika. 

Faraguvol 

Votive god. Puerto Rico and Haiti. The deified 
trunk of a tree which is carried to a tribal chief 
and presented. The being represented, classed as 
a ZEMl, is considered to wander about and can 
escape from a closed bag or sack. 

Faro 

River god. Bambara [Mah, West Africa]. Regarded 
as the deity who brought order to the world at the 
time of creation. He impregnated himself and 
gave birth to twins who were the first human 



beings. He is also the progenitor of fish stocks in 
the river Niger. His chief adversary is the god of 
the desert wind, Teliko. Faro is propitiated 
annually by a Komo society of men in a ritual of 
dancing. They use a special mask which is created 
anew each year. According to legend Faro came 
to earth after a long period of drought during 
which most of the living things died. He also gave 
mankind the gift of speech. 

Fauna 

Minor vegetation goddess. Roman. Consort of 
Faunus with guardianship of woods and plants. 

Faiinus 

Minor vegetation god. Roman. Consort of Fauna 
with guardianship of woods and plants. He was 
given many of the attributes of the Greek god 
Pan including horns and legs of a goat. 

Fe 

Tbtelary god. Gai [Ivory Coast, West Africa]. By 
tradition he arbitrated a dispute between two 
tribes, the Chuilo and the Nyaio. The Nyaio were 
eventually defeated and Fe became specifically 
the god of the Chuilo people. He is propitiated by 



95 



96 Fe'e 



means of a dance in which a terrifying mask is 
worn. 

Fe'e 

God of the dead. Polynesian. Perceived as a giant 
cuttlefish who was once subdued by the god of 
deep underground rocks. Part of the principle of 
Polynesian religion that every deity has a superior 
and and inferior who have either bested, or been 
bested by, the other at some mythical time. 

Fei Lian See Feng Po. 

Felicitas 

Minor god. Roman. Linked with agricultural 
prosperity. Known particularly from the second 
century BC. 

Feng Po 

Sky god. Chinese. Described as the "Count of 
the Wind," which he releases from a sack, he has 
strong links with the sea. He was originally 
regarded as malevolent and the antagonist of the 
god Shen Yi. Feng Po may be depicted in human 
form as an old man with a white beard, or in the 
guise of a dragon with the head of a bird or a 
deer. Also Fei Lian; Fei Lien; Feng Bo. 

Fides 

Alinor god. Roman. Identiiied with faith and loyalty. 
A sanctuary was dedicated to him in Rome drca 254 
BC. Symbolized by a pair of covered hands. 

Fidi Mvdodlu 

Creator god. Bena Lulua [Democratic Republic 
of Congo, central Africa] . He provides mankind 



with food, tools and weapons. The sun and moon 
were engendered from his cheeks. 

FJORGYN 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic) region. Early fertility 
goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period 
(circa AD 700) or earlier to Christianization 
(circa AD 1100). 

SYNONYMS possibly lord. 

center(s) of cult none known. 

ART REFERENCES none known, but probably the 
subject of anonymous carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES scant mention in various Ice- 
landic codices. Fjorgyn is referred to by Snorri 
in Skaldskaparmal. 

Practically nothing is known about Fjorgyn, 
though it is suggested that she is the mother of 
Thor. She may therefore be lord by a different 
name. May also have been married to, or had a 
brother by the same name (Fjorgyn). She is men- 
tioned in the Voluspa of the Poetic Edda and is 
probably the model for the Wagnerian character 
Erda. 

Snorri Sturluson suggests that a god Fjorgvin 
(Fjorgynn) may have been the father of the god- 
dess Frigg. 

Flaitheas 

Tutelary goddess. Celtic (Irish). A name applied 
to the "Sovereignty of Ireland." By tradition Irish 
rulers-designate were offered a cup called the 
dergflaith to drink from, denoting their accept- 
ance as consort of the goddess. 

Flora 

Goddess of flowers. Roman. Consort of Zephyrus 
and chiefly worshiped by young girls with offerings 



FREYR 97 



of fruit and flowers. Her major festivals, with 
strongly sexual overtones but also identified with 
the dead, were celebrated in the spring months 
fi-om April 28 to early May and known as Fhralia. 

Forseti 

God of unknown status. Nordic (Icelandic). A 

god of Asgard said by Snorri to be the son of 
Balder and Nanna. According to an Icelandic 
hst of dwellings of the gods, Forseti owned a gold 
and silver hall, Glitnir, and was a good law maker 
and arbiter of disputes. Also Fosite (Friesian). 

Fortuna 

Goddess of good fortune. Roman. A deity who 
particularly appealed to women, pardy in an orac- 
ular context. She is depicted carrying a globe, 
rudder and cornucopiae. She probably evolved 
from the model of the Greek goddess Tyche. 
Her main symbol is the wheel of fate which she 
may stand upon and Renaissance artists tended to 
depict her thus. Among her more celebrated sanc- 
tuaries in Rome, the temple of Fortuna Redux 
was built by Domitian to celebrate his victories in 
Germany. She is depicted in a well-known stone 
carving in Gloucester Museum, England, holding 
her three main attributes. 

FREYJA (lady) 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic) or Germanic. Fertility 

and vegetation goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP Viking period (circa 

AD 700) and earlier, until after Christianization 

(circa AD 1100). synonyms Gefn (giver); 

MardoU; Syr (sow); Horn; Skialf; possibly 

Thorgerda in some parts of the north. 
center(s) oe cult principally in Sweden and 

Norway, but spread throughout the Nordic 

region. 



ART reeerences stone carvings. 

literary sources Icelandic codices; Prose: Edda 

(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); inscriptions; 

various place names. 

Freyja is one of the most popular of the deities in 
Asgard. A Vanir goddess, twin sister and/or wife 
of Freyr, and daughter of NjORD. A goddess of 
love concerned with affairs of the heart, marriage 
and prosperity. Much sought after by giants, and 
reputed to have enjoyed sexual haisons with many 
suitors, including gods and elves. She drives a 
chariot pulled by two cats and is said to roam at 
night in the form of a she-goat. She also rides 
upon a boar with golden bristles, the Hildeswin. 
Closely associated with death, according to some 
legends she received half of those slain in battle 
(see Othin). A weeping goddess with tears of 
gold, symbolized by the boar (see Frigg), she 
wears a necklace with ritual significance, the 
Brisingamen. Said to be able to take the shape of 
a falcon and fly great distances. Associated with a 
form of witchcraft, seior, involving a seeress and 
divination. Frigg and Freyja are possibly separate 
aspects of a single divine principle. 

FREYR (lord) 

ORIGIN Possibly Swedish or Germanic but 
extending throughout the Nordic region with 
lowest popularity in Iceland. Fertility god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OE WORSHIP Viking period (circa 
AD 700) and earlier, until Christianization (circa 
AD 1100). 

SYNONYMS none confirmed, but possibly 
including Frodi (Denmark); Yng or InG; Lytir 
(Sweden). 

center(s) OF CULT Uppsala (Sweden), Thrand- 
heim (Norway) and various temples and 
shrines throughout the Nordic countries 
(none surviving). 

ART REFERENCES stone carvings. 



98 FRIGG 



LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); Adam of Bre- 
men; inscriptions; place names. 

One of the Vanir gods inhabiting Asgard, and 

concerned with the fertility, prosperity and peace 
of the world. The twin of Frey[A and one of the 
children of NjORD. Married to the giantess Gerd, 
a liaison interpreted by some as representing the 
marriage of a sky god with the earth resulting in 
the harvest. He was, according to the writer Adam 
of Bremen, represented in the cult temple at 
Uppsala by a dramatically ithyphallic statue. The 
Freyr cult was possibly accompanied by a sacred 
marriage and he was regarded as the progenitor of 
the royal Swedish Ynglinge dynasty. According to 
the Flateyjarbok (Icelandic), the statue of Freyr 
was carried around the countryside in a covered 
wagon with an attendant priestess to bless the 
seasons. Other festivals may have included a rit- 
ual drama in which male attendants dressed in 
effeminate costumes. 

Freyr enjoys very ancient Unks with the boar, 
considered to possess protective powers, and he 
had a sacred animal with golden bristles called 
Gullinborsti. A sacred stable is described at 
Thrandheim, one of the centers of a horse cult 
with which he was also strongly identified. Freyr 
is also associated with a ship cult based on the 
notion of a phantom vessel, Skidbladnir or 
Skioblaonir, large enough to hold all the gods but 
small enough to fold into a man's pocket. 

FRIGG 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic) or Germanic. Mother 
goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period (circa 
AD 700) and earlier, until Christianization (circa 
AD 1100). 

SYNONYMS Frija (Germanic). 

center(s) of cult various around Nordic 
region. 



ART REFERENCES stone carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 

(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); inscriptions; 

place names. 

The senior Aesir goddess living in Asgard; con- 
sort of Othin and mother of Balder. Saxo 
implies that she had been the unfaithfrJ spouse 
but generally she was revered as a regal consort 
and "queen of heaven." The Germanic version of 
her name, Frija, is the origin of Friday. She is 
thought to have been closely concerned with 
childbirth and midwifery. She may also have 
headed a group of shadowy female deities to 
whom carved stones were often erected in pre- 
Christian Europe (Roman matrones) associated 
with fertility and protection of the household. 
Such stones are generally found in the Rhineland. 
A weeping goddess occasionally described as tak- 
ing the shape of a falcon (see Freyfa). 

Fu Shen 

God of luck. Chinese. He is often linked in 
iconography with TSAI Shen, god of wealth, and 
Shou Lao, god of longevity. Usually depicted 
with his son, and wearing blue robes, which sig- 
nify his official position. 

Fujin 

God of winds. Shinto [Japan]. Depicted carrying 
a sack on his shoulder which contains the four 
winds. 

Fukurokuju 

God of luck. Shinto Japan]. One of seven deities 
in Shintoism concerned with fortune. He is 
allegedly a Chinese hermit who lived during the 
Sung dynasty and whose name means happiness, 

wealth and longevity. He is depicted as a little old 
man, bald and with a prominent high forehead. 



Futsu-Nushi-No-Kami 99 



He carries a book of sacred teachings tied to his 
staff. Other occasional attributes include a crane, 
deer or tortoise. 

FuUa 

Alinor goddess. Germanic. Identified in the sec- 
ond Merseburg Charm as an attendant of the god- 
dess Frigg and possibly her sister. 

Futo-Tama 

Ancestral god. Shinto [Japan]. A significant deity 
in mythology because he took part in the divina- 
tion and ritual necessary before the process of 
drawing the sun goddess Amaterasu out of her 



cave could begin. He collected together various 
magical objects, pushed forward the perfect 
divine mirror, recited the sacred liturgy and 
begged Amaterasu never again to hide her face. 
The guardian of Prince NiNlGl, ancestor of the 
imperial dynasty, Futo-Tama is more specifically 
the ancestor of the Imba clan in Japan. 

Futsu-Nushi-No-Kami 

God of war. Shinto [Japan]. One of two deities 
who made the way clear for Prince NiNlGl to 
descend to earth and begin the imperial dynasty. 
A tutelary deity of swordsmen and judoka artists. 
Linked with the god Take-Mika-Dzuchi- 
No-Kami. 



G 



Gabija 

Fire goddess. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. She was 
invoked by tossing salt on to a sacred flame. 

Gabjauja 

Corn goddess. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. She 
was degraded to an evil demonic presence after 
Christianization. 

Gad 

God of uncertain status. Western Semitic 
and Punic (Carthaginian). Probably concerned 
with chance or fortune and known from 
Palmyrene inscriptions, and from the Vetus 
Testamentum in place names such as Baal-Gad 
and Midal-Gad. Popular across a wide area 
of Syrio-Palestine and Anatolia in pre- 
Biblical times. Thought to have been syn- 
cretized ultimately with the Greek goddess 
Tyche. 

Gaganaganja (treasury of ether) 
God. Buddhist. One of a group of bodhisattvas 
(btiddha-designntes). Color: yellow, red or gold. 
Attributes: blue lotus, book, jewel, lotus and wish- 
ing tree in a vase. 



GAIA (earth) 

ORIGIN Greek. Archetypal earth mother. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1 500 BC untU 
Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Gaea; Ge; Terra. 

center(s) OF CULT Oracle at Delphi. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures and reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Theogofiy, Hymn to Gaia in 
the so-called Homeric hymns (Hesiod); Aristo- 
phanes. 

Gaia is an ancient pre-Hellenic goddess who was 
mainly revered in Attica. She is the primordial 
essence of the earth, one of the creations of 
Aether and Hedera, the primordial beings of the 
cosmos. Through the encouragement of Eros 
she became the mother of PONTOS (sea) and 
OuRANOS (heaven). According to tradition, 
through liaison with Ouranos, she also engen- 
dered the race of TiTANS. By consorting with the 
underworld she created the monstrous Typhon. 

Perceived as a placid and resilient goddess gen- 
erally with some apathy to the goings-on around 
her in the tale of beginnings. She had an oracle at 
Delphi that predated that of Apollo. Gaia was 
later superseded by other divinities, but she main- 
tained a role presiding over marriage and the tak- 
ing of oaths. In the Iliad, Agamemnon cries to 
Zeus: "May Zeus, all highest and first of gods, be 



lOO 



GANESA lOI 



witness first, then Gaia and Helios and the Furies 
underground who punish men for having broken 
oaths." 

In Hellenic times Gaia became Da-meter or 
Demeter, the corn mother whose daughter is 
KORE, the corn spirit. Her attributes include fruit 
and cornucopiae. 

Gajavahana 

God. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). A form of Skanda 
who has an elephant as a vehicle. Mainly from 
southern India. Attributes: cockerel and spear. 

Gal Bapsi Chook ' god) 

Local god. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India]. Worshiped particularly by the Bhils. To 
expiate sins, the penitent thrusts a hook into his 
back and is suspended from it on the day when 
the sun enters Aries. 



Ganaslddi (humpback) 
God of harvests, plenty and of mists. Navaho 
[USA]. He is said to Uve at Depehahatil, a canyon 
with many ruined cliff dwellings north of San 
Juan. According to tradition he is the apotheosis 
of a bighorn sheep. His priest wears a blue mask 
with no hair fringe but with a spruce crown and 
collar. He has a black bag on his back, filled out 
with a twig frame, that appears as a deformity, 
and he carries a staff. 

Gandha (odor) 

Goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. In Lamaism 
one of the group of Mataras (mothers). Color: 
green. Attribute: conch with sandalwood resin. 

Gandhari (of Ghandhara) 
Goddess of learning. Jain [India]. One of sixteen 
Sasanadevatas headed by the goddess Saras- 
VATI. May also be a ViDYADEVL 



Galla 

Minor underworld gods. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian-Akkadian). Attendants of the 
goddess Ereskigal. Also Gallu. 

Ganapad (hrd of hosts) 

1. God. Hindu (Puranic). The more commonly 
recognized name of the elephant god Ganesa, 
particularly favored in western India. 

2. God. Buddhist (Mahayana). The name of a 
deity influenced by the Hindu god Ganesa. 
Depicted riding upon a rat or mouse and carrying 
an assortment of attributes. 

Ganapatihrdaya (the heart of Ganapati) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). The Sakti 
of Ganapati. 



Gandha Tara (fragrance -Tara) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Color: red. 

Attribute: conch with sandalwood resin. 

GANESA (lord of hosts) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. God of 

wisdom and prudence. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400 Onward 

until present. 
SYNONYMS Ganapati. 
center(s) OF CULT none specific. 
ART references sculptores generally bronze but 

also stone. Reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES late Mahabharata recensions 

and Brihaddharma-Purana etc. 

Ganesa is god of wisdom and art, a benign deity 
generally assumed to offer help when invoked to 



1 02 Ganga 



overcome difficulties. He may have originated as 
a fertility god and as a yaksa (local forest deity). 
His father is SlVA. His mother, Parvati, is said to 
have created him from the scurf of her skin. He is 
depicted in human form with an elephant's head 
(or, less frequently, up to five heads) and a trunk 
(which removes obstacles), sometimes bearing 
one tusk, on a stout or obese body (which con- 
tains the universe). He has four arms which can 
carry a large number of attributes but particu- 
larly a shell, a discus, a mace and a water-lily. His 
sacred animal is the bandicoot. He is called upon 
before going on a journey, moving house or open- 
ing a new business. 

According to one legend his elephant head 
was gained after his mother had put him outside 
the house to guard the doorstep while she took a 
bath. He barred the way to his father whereupon 
Siva inadvertendy decapitated him. His mother 
vowed to secure a head for him from the first 
passing creature, which happened to be an 
elephant. Another account suggests that Parvati 
took Ganesa to show him off to the gods but that 
Sani (Saturn) burned his head to ashes and the 
elephant's head was provided to save his Hfe by a 
compassionate ViSNU. 

Ganesa's great popularity results in frequent 
appearance in temples devoted to other Hindu 
deities. Sculptores are sometimes painted red. He 
is also a common household guardian made pop- 
ular by his gende nature. 

Gatiga 

River goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Guardian deity of 
the Ganges. The elder daughter of Himavan and 
Mena, she is the sister of Parvati and the consort 
of ViSNU and Agni. She is also the second consort 
of Siva. Ganga is regarded as a symbol of purity and 
is frequendy depicted with Brahma washing the 
raised foot of ViSNU TrivikRAMA. According to 
tradition she was a heavenly river brought to earth 
and caught by Siva in his hair to soften the shock of 



her fall. She rides on a fish or water monster. Color: 
white. Attributes: fly whisk, lotus and water jar. 

Gangir 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). One of 
the seven daughters of the goddess Baba, known 
chiefly at Lagas. Also, and more properly, 
Hegir-Nuna. 

Garmangabis 

Tutelary goddess. South Germanic. Invoked by 
the Suebi tribe to bring prosperity. She may be 
Unked with the north German goddess Gefjon. 

Garuda (the devourer) 

Archaic sun god and divine vehicle. Hindu 
(Vedic). Originally depicted as a solar deity, 
Garuda evolved into a bird-like human hybrid 
who became the deified mount of ViSNU. Also a 
chief adversary of nagas (snake-like demons), 
which he devours. In early depictions Garuda has 
a parrot's beak. Said to have been born from an 
egg, the son of Vinata and Kasyapa. Epithets 
include Amrtaharana, Garutman, Tarksya. Attrib- 
utes: conch, club, lotus and nectar, but may also 
bear the attributes of Visnu. 
2 . Mount or vahaiza of Vajrapani. Buddhist. 
Attributes: flower, horse-head, noose, skin and 
staff. Three-eyed and three-headed. 

Gatumdug 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian 
and Babylonian-Akkadian). The daughter of the 
sky god An, she is the tutelary mother goddess 
of Lagas. 

Gaunab 

Malevolent god of darkness. Khoi (Hottentot) 
[Namibia, southern Africa]. The chief adversary 



Ge^on I03 



of the creator god TSUNIGOAB. He was engaged 
in a primordial struggle for supremacy during 
which Tsunigoab was wounded but eventually 
triumphed, consigning Gaunab to the so-called 
"black heaven." 

Gauri (whitish brilliant) 

1. Goddess. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). Consort 
of the god Varuna, said to have been created at 
the churning of the ocean of milk. An epithet of 
Parvati as a goddess of the corn. Also a Sakti of 
Mahesvara, a minor aspect of SrvA. Her attendant 
animal is a lion or a wolf Attributes: fish, forest 
garland, image of Ganesa, lotus, mirror, rosary, 
trident and water jar. Three-eyed. Also Varuni. 

2. Goddess. Buddhist. One of eight Gauris of 
terrible appearance. Attributes: head and noose. 

3 . Messenger goddess. Jain [India] . A Sasanade- 
VATA. Also one of sixteen Vidyadevis or god- 
desses of learning headed by Sarasvati. Color: 
white. Attribute: a hook. 

NOTE: Gauri-Tara is a distinct minor Buddhist 
Mahayana goddess. 

Gautama Buddha See Buddha. 

Gayatri 

Personification of a hymn. Hindu. The name of 
a popular hymn in the Rg Veda, dedicated to the 
sun. Also the name of one, possibly the second, of 
the consorts of Brahma. 
See also Sarasvati. 

GEB (eanh) 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Chthonic or earth god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Old Kingdom 

(circa 2600 BC) to end of Egyptian history (circa 

AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Seb (erroneous). 



center(s) of cult none specific but often asso- 
ciated with tombs. 

ART references paintings in Valley of the 
Kings, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid and coffin texts; 
New Kingdom religious papyri including the 
Papyrus of Tentamun. 

Geb, the offspring of Su and Tefnut, is a "third 
generation" deity of the Ennead in Heliopolis 
and, as the brother and consort of NuT, becomes 
the father of IsiS and OsiRlS in the Heliopolis 
genealogy. Geb appears on papyri from the New 
Kingdom typically wearing the crown of Lower 
Egypt, lying on the ground with his arms 
stretched in opposite directions: "one to the sky, 
one to the earth." When drawn with Nut, who is 
a sky goddess, his penis is often erect and 
extended toward her. He may also be accompa- 
nied by a goose (his sign in hieroglyphic). 

Geb is a vegetation god, frequently colored 
green and with greenery sprouting from him. He 
is also seen as a god of heaUng, particularly called 
upon for protection against scorpion stings. In a 
less benign context, Geb reputedly snatches the 
souls of the dead and may imprison them against 
passing into the afterhfe. He is also a god con- 
cerned with judgment in the dispute between 
HORUS and Seth. As Horus's father, he presided 
over his crowning, and therefore continued to 
protect each rightful heir to the crown of Egypt. 

Ge^on 

Goddess of agriculture. Germanic and Nordic 
(Icelandic). One of the Aesir deities and an atten- 
dant of the goddess Frigg according to tradition 
mentioned by Snorri in the Edda. She bore four 
giant sons whom she turned into oxen and used 
them to plough a tract of land which was then 
towed out to sea to become Zeeland (Sjaeland). 
She is also said to have founded a royal Danish 
dynasty. Also Gefiun. 



1 04 Gemini 



Gemini See DioSKOUROi. 
Genius 

God of men. Roman. The personification of 

creativity and strength in mortal males, the 
counterpart of JUNO. Roman religion also 
dictated that every place had its guardian spirit, 
the genius loci. 

Gerra 

God of fire. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Derived from the Sumerian GiBiL, he 
is the son of Anu and Anunitu and becomes 
largely syncretized with both Erra and Nergal. 

Gestin-Ana 

Chthonic goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
The sister of DuMUZi and consort of Ningisida. 
The so-called "heavenly grape-vine," this minor 
goddess is involved in the account of Dumuzi try- 
ing to escape from his fate at the hands of Inana 
and Ereskigal. In her house he is changed into 
a gazelle before being caught and finally trans- 
ported to the underworld. 

Gestu 

Minor god of intellect. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian-Akkadian). According to 
legend he was sacrificed by the great gods 
and his blood was used in the creation of 
mankind. 

Geus Tasan 

Cattle god. Persian [Iran]. The creator of cattle. 
Sometimes considered to be an aspect of Ahura 
Mazda. 



Geus Urvan 

Cattle god. Persian [Iran]. The guardian of cattle 
who appears in the guise of a cow. 

Ghantakama (ears like bells) 
God of heahng. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). An 
attendant of SrVA, worshiped as a guardian against 
diseases of the skin. Attributes: bell with noose, 
and hammer. 

NOTE: there is also a poorly defined goddess 
Ghantakarni. 

Ghantapani (bell in hand) 
God. Buddhist (Mahayana). One of the group of 
dhyanibodhisattva (meditation buddhas). An ema- 
nation of Vajrasattva. Color: white. Attribute: a bell. 

Ghasmari (voracious) 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist. One 
of a group of eight Gauris. Color: green. Attrib- 
utes: staff with bell. 

Ghentu 

Minor god. Hindu. Known in northern India as 
the god who "sends the itch." 

Gibil 

Fire god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). The son of 
An and Ki. By the Akkadian period he becomes 
known as Gerra. 

Gibini 

Plague god. Gishu [Uganda, East Africa]. Associ- 
ated with the smallpox god Enundu, he is pro- 
pitiated with offerings of vegetables and is 
symboUzed by special trees planted near the house. 



GOBNIU I05 



Giltine 

Goddess of death. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. She 
is said to enter the house of a dying person, 
dressed in a white gown, and suffocate them. 

Gish 

God of war. Kafir [Afghanistan]. Known chiefly 
among the Kati people in the southern Hin- 
dukush. Gish seems partly modeled on the Aryan 
(Vedic) god Indra (see also Indr). One of the 
offspring of the creator god IMRA, his mother is 
named as Utr; she carried him for eighteen 
months before he wrenched himself from her 
belly, stitching her up with a needle. His consort 
is the goddess Sanju. He slaughters with great 
efficiency but is considered lacking in graces and 
intellect, emerging in a generally boorish Hght 
(see also Thor). His home is a fortress of steel 
atop a mythical walnut tree propped up by his 
mother which provides nourishment and strength 
for his warriors. The rainbow is a sling with 
which he carries his quiver. 

Gish is associated chiefly with the villages of 
Kamdesh and Shtiwe but has been worshiped 
throughout the Kafir region with the sacrifice of 
hornless oxen, particularly prior to combat. A 
feast was given in his honor if the outcome was 
successful. Also Giwish. 

Giszida 

God. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian- 
Akkadian). See Nin-giszida. 
See also NiNGlSZlDA. 

Gita 

Mother goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of a group of Astamataras (mothers). Color: red. 
Attributes: Indian gong and lute. 



Glaucus 

Sea god. Roman. 
See also Glaukos. 

Glaukos 

Sea god. Greek. Allegedly an impoverished fish- 
erman who ate a sea-grass vnth magical proper- 
ties, dived into the ocean and remained there as a 
guardian deity of fishermen and their nets. 
See also Proteus. 

Gleti 

Moon goddess. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. The 
consort of the sun god LiSA and the mother of a 
large number of minor astral deities, the gletivi, 
who became the stars of heaven. 

GOBNIU (smith) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). God of skills including ale- 
brewing. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP early times until 

Christianization, circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Goibniu; GOVANNON (Welsh). 
CENTER(s) OF CULT none specifically known. 
ART REFERENCES various monumental sculptures 

and inscriptions. 
UTERAKY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of Kings. 

Gobniu is known chiefly for his skills as a metal 
smith and in brewing the immortal beer of the 
gods. lie fashions invincible magic weapons for 
the TuATHA De Danann. In his brewing activities 
he uses a vast bronze caldron, a copy of which was 
housed in various sanctuaries and was apparendy 
at times associated with the ritual slaughter of 
kings of Ireland. Gobniu forms part of a triad of 
deities, the Na tri dee dana (three gods of skill), 
vwth Credne, a deity skilful in brazing, and Luchta. 



1 06 Gonaqade't 



Gonaqade't 

Sea god. Chilkat [American north Pacific coast]. 
By tradition he brings power and good fortune to 
all who see him. He appears in several guises, ris- 
ing fi-om the water as a gaily painted house inlaid 
with blue and green Haliotis shell, or as the head 
of a huge fish, or as a painted war canoe. Gener- 
ally depicted in art as a large head with arms, paws 
and fins. 

Gon-Po Nag-Po 

God. Lamaist [Tibet]. See also Mahakala. Also 
Bram-zei gzugs-can; mGon-dkar; Gur-Gyi- 
Mgon-Po. 

Goraknath 

Guardian god. Hindu. An avatara of Siva, wor- 
shiped among cow-herders and the founder of 
the gorakhnathi sect in Nepal. 

Govannon 

God of skills. Celtic (Welsh). Son of the goddess 
Don. 
See also Gobniu. 

Grahamatrka (demon mother) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). One of the forms 
of Vairocana. Attributes: arrow, bow, lotus and 
staff Three -headed. 

Gramadevata 

Generic term for a local tutelary deity. India. Such 
deities are identified as "not being served by Brah- 
man priests." Most are goddesses e.g. Camxjnda, 
Durga and Kali. Generally they are invoked in 
small villages where they guard boundaries and 
fields and are represented by a painted stone, but 
they are also to be found in larger towns and cities. 



Grannus 

God of healing. Romano-Celtic (Continental 
Europe). The name appears across a wide area 
generally associated with medicinal springs and 
hot mineral waters, including sites at Aix-la- 
Chapelle, Grand (Vosges), Trier, Brittany, and as 
far distant as the Danube basin. Grannus became 
syncretized with the Roman god Apollo as 
Apollo Grannus, and baths were sometimes called 
Aquae Granni. 

Gratiae 

Goddesses. Roman. The counterparts of the 
Greek Charites. Identified with the arts and gen- 
erally depicted with long flowing tresses, but oth- 
erwise naked. 

Grdhrasya (face of a vulture) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. 

Grismadevi (goddess of summer) 
Seasonal goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. Also 
an attendant of Sridevi. Usually accompanied by 
a yak. Color: red. Attributes: ax and cup. 

Gugulanna 

Minor underworld deity. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). The consort of the goddess Ereskigal, 
mentioned as the pretext on which the fertiUty 
goddess Inana descends to the netherworld. 

Gujo 

Tutelary guardian deity. Kafir [Afghanistan]. A 
god of whom there is nothing other than a pass- 
ing reference fi-om among the extinct southern 
Hindukush tribe of Pachags. He may have been a 
local consort of the messenger goddess Zhiwu. 



Gusilim 1 07 



Gukumatz 

Sky god. Mayan (Quiche, classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Guatemalan highlands]. The son of the 
creator gods E QUAHOLOM and E Alom, and 
equating to the feathered serpent god of Aztec 
religion, QUETZALCOATL. 

Gula (great one) 

Goddess of healing. Mesopotamian (Sumerian 
and Babylonian-Akkadian). Consort of NiNURTA. 
Her animal is the dog. She may be synonymous 
with Nin'insina. Also mentioned in Hellenistic 
Babylonian times. A Gula temple is described at 
Uruk. Also NiNTINUGGA. 

Gul-Ses 

Collective name for goddesses of fate. Hittite. 
They dispense good or evil, life or death. Also 
Hutena (Hurrian). 

Gulsilia Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who in later Hinduism became regarded as 
of evil intent, inflicting sickness. Particularly 
known from Bengal. 

Gundari-Myoo 

Japanese Buddhist. The terrific manifestation of 
the DHYANIBUDDHA Ratnasambhava. He bears 
three eyes and fangs. His eight arms and legs are 
decorated with snakes. Attributes include a skull 
on the hair and he stands on a lotus. 

Gunabibi 

Creator goddess. Australian aboriginal. Also known 
as Kunapipi, she is extensively revered by aborigines 
in northern Australia, including the Yolngu people. 



Her cult bears some similarity to that of the Greek 
mother goddess Demeter and to Tantric cults in 
India. For this reason the cult is thought to have 
been introduced from Asia to Amhem Land and 
then to other parts of the Australian continent as 
early as the sixth ccnnir}'. Mythology indicates that 
Gunabibi has been perceived as a deity who came 
from the sea or the rivers during the Dreamtime 
but who reigns now over dry land. Among modern 
aborigines she is the subject of esoteric rituals which 
also involve the great serpent Yulunggul with whom 
Gunabibi has been closely involved. 

Gunnodoyak 

Iroquois (North American Indian). A youthful 
heroic deity who was once mortal. He was 
empowered by the spirit of thunder, Hino, to 
conquer the Great Water Snake, enemy of 
humankind. The serpent devoured Gunnodoyak 
but was then slain by Hino, who cut open the 
snake, recovered the body of Gunnodoyak and 
returned him to his rightful place in heaven. 

Gvinura 

Deity of tmcertain status. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian-Akkadian). Described vari- 
ously as the husband of the goddess Nin'insina 
and the father of Damu (DUMUZl), but also as the 
sister of Damu. 

Gur-Gyi Mgon-Po 

God of tents. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. A form 
of Mahakala usually attended by a man. Color: 
blue. Attributes: club, cup and knife. 

Gusilim (hud voice) 
God. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
See also ISTARAN. 



1 08 Gwydion 



Gwydion 

God of war. Celtic (Welsh). His mother is DoN the 
Welsh mother goddess. He allegedly caused a war 
between Gwynedd and Dyfed. He visited the court 
of Pryderi, son of Rhiannon, in Dyfed, and stole 
his pigs. In the ensuing combat Gwydion used 
magic powers and slew Pryderi. He seems to have 
underworld links, hence the route taken by the 
dead, the Milky Way, was named Caer Gvsydion. 



Gwynn Ap Nudd 

Chthonic underworld god. Celtic (Welsh). 
Known locally from South Wales. The leader of 
the phantom hunt which chases a white stag. He 
equates vnth Herne in England and Arawn in 
more northern parts of Wales. 



H 



Ha 

Guardian god. Egyptian. Early deity of the west- 
ern Sahara referred to as warding off enemies 
(possibly Libyan) from the west. Depicted in 
anthropomorphic form crowned by the symbol of 
desert dunes. 

Hachacyum {our very lord) 

Creator god. Mayan (Lacandon, classical 

Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The creator of the 
world assisted by three other deities, his consort 
and two brothers, one of whom is Sucunyum, his 
counterpart (or alter ego) in the underworld. Also 
Nohochacyum (our great lord). 

Hachiman 

God of war and peace. Shinto [Japan]. A deity 
whose origins are confused. The name does not 
appear in either of the sacred texts of Shintoism, 
but such a deity was probably worshiped in the 
distant past with the alternative title of Hime- 
Gami or Hime-O-Kami. The cult center was on 
the southern island of Kyushu at Usa. In modern 
Shintoism, Hachiman originates as a member of 
the imperial dynasty. Named Ojin-lenno and born 
in AD 200 to the empress Jingu-Kogo, he greatly 
improved the living standards and culture of Japan 



during his remarkable reign. The place of his birth 
was marked by a sanctuary and several centuries 
after his death, a vision of a child KAMI appeared 
there to a priest. The kanii identified himself by the 
Chinese ideogram representing the name Hachi- 
man, and thus the link developed. The site is, 
today, the location of a magnificent shrine, the 
Umi-Hachiman-Gu, where Hachiman has been 
perceived as a god of war. Soldiers departing for 
battle once took with them reUcs from the shrine. 

Hachiman is also a deity of peace and a 
guardian of human life and, when pacifism dom- 
inated Japan during the post-war era, he became 
more strongly identified in the latter context. 

Hadad 

Weather god. Western Semitic (Syrian and 
Phoenician). Derived from the Akkadian deity 
Adad. In texts found at the site of the ancient 
Canaanite capital of Ugarit [Ras Samra] , the 
name of Hadad apparently becomes a substitute 
for that of Baal. His voice is described as roaring 
from the clouds and his weapon is the thunder- 
bolt. His mother is the goddess ASERAH. 

During Hellenic times he was predominandy 
worshiped at Ptolemais and Hierapolis. His Syr- 
ian consort is Atargatis, who overshadowed him 
in local popularity at Hierapolis. Statues of the 



I09 



I 1 0 HADES 



two deities were carried in procession to the sea 
twice yearly. According to the Jewish writer Jose- 
phus, Hadad also enjoyed a major cult following 
at Damascus in the eighth and ninth centuries 
BC. By the third century BC the Hadad-Atargatis 
cult had extended to Egypt, when he becomes 
identified as the god Sutekh. In the Greek tra- 
dition his consort becomes Hera. 
See also Adad. 



HADES (the invisible one) 
ORIGIN Greek. God of death. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1 500 BC until 

Christianization (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Aidoneus (Roman); Dis; Plutos; 

Orc:us (Roman). 
center(s) of cult restricted to Pylos. 
ART REFERENCES none specific. 
LITERARY SOURCES Odyssey, Iliad (Homer); 

Theogony (Hesiod). 

Hades is the son of Kronos and Rhea and may be 
perceived as the chthonic form of ZeuS; he is also 
the consort of PERSEPHONE (Kore). Since all pre- 
cious metals and stones Ue buried in the earth, he 
is also the god of riches. He rides in a black char- 
iot drawn by four black horses. His home in the 
underworld is the House of Ais. The closely 
guarded gates of his kingdom, also called Hades, 
are identified in the Odyssey as lying beyond the 
ocean at the edge of the world and in the Iliad as 
lying directly beneath the earth. Through Hades 
run the rivers Styx, beside which the gods made 
their hallowed oaths, and Lethe, with its waters of 
forgetfiilness. hi the Odyssey the rivers are identified 
as the Pyriphlegethon and Kokytos (a tributary of 
the Styx) both of which flow into the Acheron. 

Hades abducts Persephone (Kore), the daugh- 
ter of Demeter, and brings her to the under- 
world to reign as his queen for four months in 
every year. He is depicted as a dark-bearded god 



carrying a two-pronged harpoon or a scepter, and 
a key. He may be called Plutos, although the lat- 
ter is generally regarded as a distinct deity. 

Hahana Ku (much rains house god) 
Messenger god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerica) 
[Mexico]. According to tradition, when the god 
Hachacyum decides to send rain he directs 
Hahana Ku to visit the black powder maker Men- 
ZABAC. Hahana Ku buys only a small quantity, 
against the wishes of the vendor. 

Hahanu 

God of \mcertain function. Mesopotamian (Smner- 
ian and Babylonian-Akkadian). Known from pass- 
ing reference in texts and from inscriptions. 

Haili'laj 

Plague god. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte 
Island, Canada]. Particularly associated with 
smallpox. Believed to be so terrible that he is not 
even propitiated with food. He sails in a canoe of 
pestilence with huge sails like those of the white 
man's ships which brought plague to the Indians. 

Hakea 

Goddess of the underworld. Polynesian, Hawaii. 
Her role was generally shared with the chthonic 
goddess Mini. 

Hala 

Goddess of healing. Kassite [Iraq]. Probably later 
syncretized with the Akkadian goddess GULA. 

Halahala (lord of poison) 

God of poison. Buddhist (Mahayana). A form of 

AVALOKITESVARA. Typically seated on a red lotus 



Hanui-o-rangi III 



with the Sakti on the left knee. Color: white. 
Attributes: arrow, bow, cup, grass, image of 
Amitabha on crown, lotus, tiger skin and trident. 
Three-headed and three-eyed. 

Haldi 

Tutelary god. Urartian [Armenia]. Known from 
circa 1000 BC until circa 800 EC. 

Halld {barley) 

Corn god. Hittite and Hurrian. He may also have 
been invoked by beer makers. 

Hamadryades 

Animistic tree spirits. Greco-Roman. Vaguely 
defined female beings whose existence is 
restricted to the individual trees of which they 
are guardians. 

Hamavehae 

Mother goddesses. Romano-Celtic (Rhineland). 
A trio of matres known from inscriptions. 

Hammon 

God of the evening sun. Libyan. An ancient deity 
depicted with ram's horns. 

Hammu Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu. Locally worshiped by 
the Bhils. 

Han Xiang-zi 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology. Once 
mortal beings, they achieved immortality through 



their lifestyle. Attributes include a basket of flow- 
ers and a flute. 
See also Ba Xian. 

Hani(s) 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). 
The attendant of Adad and linked with SULLAT. 

Hani-Yasu-Hiko 

God of potters. Shinto [Japan]. The consort of 

Hani-Yasu-Hlme, he is one of the clay deities made 
from the faeces of the primordial goddess I2ANAMI. 

Hani-Yasu-Hime 

Cjoddess of potters. Shinto [Japan]. The consort 
of Hani-Yasu-Hiko, she is one of the clay deities 
made from the faeces of the primordial goddess 
IZANAMI. 

Hannahannas 

Mother goddess. Hittite and Hurrian. Described 
as the "great mother." In the legend of Telepinu, 
the missing god, she sends a bee to locate him. 
When the bee stings Telepinu to awaken him, the 
god vents his rage on the natural world. 

NOTE: the priestesses of the Phrygian mother 
goddess Kybele were, according to the Roman 
writer Lactantius, melissai or bees. 

Hansa (goose) 

Minor avatara of ViSNU. Hindu (Puranic). 
Depicted in the form of a goose. 

Hanui-o-Rangi (father of winds) 

God of winds and weather. Polynesian. He is the 

son of the sky god Ranginui, who fathered him 



112 Hanuman 



on one of his early consorts, Pokoharua, the sis- 
ter of Tangaroa, the sea god. All the subsequent 
descendants of Hanui-o-Rangi are believed to 
rule over various aspects of the weather. Hanui 
thus fathered Tawhiri, the god of the northwest 
wind, whose son was Tiu. They control the fierce 
storms from the east. The children of Tiu include 
Hine-I-Tapapauta and Hine-Tu-Whenua, the 
deities overseeing the more gentle westerly winds. 
Hine-Tu-Whenua is the mother of Hakona-Tipu 
and Pua-I-Taha, controlling the southern and 
southwesterly gales. 

Hanviman (with large jaws) 
Monkey god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Hanu- 
man attends Rama, one of the incarnations of 
ViSNU, and personifies the ideal and faithful ser- 
vant. He is the son of Pavana, the god of winds, 
and is noted for his speed and agiUty in which 
context he is often worshiped by young men and 
athletes. He leads a mythical forest army of mon- 
keys, and is depicted as a monkey with a long tail. 
He takes a major role in the Ramayana epic 
searching for, and rescuing, the goddess SiTA who 
has been captared by the demon Ravana. He may 
appear trampling on the goddess of Lanka [Sri 
Lanka]. Worshiped particularly in southern India 
but more generally in villages. Color: red. Attrib- 
utes: bow, club, mane, rock and staff. May appear 
five-headed. 

Hao 

Creator god. Janjero [Ethiopia]. Personified by 
the crocodile and considered to reside in the river 
Gibe. He was propitiated with human sacrifice. 

Hapy 

Eertility god of the Nile flood. Egyptian. Inhab- 
its caverns adjacent to the Nile cataracts and over- 



sees the aimual inundation of the Nile valley. His 
court includes crocodile gods and frog goddesses. 
There are no known sanctuaries to Hapy. He is 
depicted in anthropomorphic form but androgy- 
nous, with prominent belly, pendulous breasts 
and crowned with water plants. He may hold a 
tray of produce. At Abydos he is depicted as a 
two-headed goose with human body. 
See also Khnum. 

Hara (destroyer) 

Epithet of SrvA. Hindu (Puranic). Also one of the 
Ekadasarudras (eleven rudras). 

Hara Ke 

Goddess of sweet water. Songhai [Niger, West 
Africa] . Considered to live beneath the waters in 
tributaries of the river Niger, attended by two 
dragons, Godi and Goru. The spirits of the dead 
are beUeved to Uve in a paradise city in the depths 
of the Niger. 

Harakhti 

A form of the god HORUS. Egyptian. The aspect 
of the god who rises at dawn in the eastern sky. 
According to Pyramid Texts, the king is born on 
the eastern horizon as Harakhti, which contra- 
dicts the more commonly held belief that the king 
is the son of Re, the sun god. 

Hara-Yama-Tsu-Mi 

Mountain god. Shinto [Japan]. Particularly the 
deity of wooded mountain slopes. 

Hardaul 

Plague god. Hindu. A locally worshiped deity 
known particularly in Bundelkhand, northern 



Harpokrates 113 



India, as a protector against cholera and consid- 
ered to have been an historical figure who died in 
AD 1627. Also a wedding god. 

Harendotes [Greek] 

Form of the god HORUS. Egyptian. Under this 
name, Horus specifically guards and protects his 
father OsiRiS in death. He thus becomes associ- 
ated with sarcophagi and appears frequently in 
coffin texts. Also Har-nedj-itef (Egyptian). 

Hari (yelkrwish brown) 

Minor incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu 
(Epic and Puranic). Popularized by modern reli- 
gious movements, Hari is one of the sons of the 
god Dharma who sprang from the heart of 
Brahma. He is most closely Unked with Krsna, 
but he and Krsna also parallel Dharma's other 
sons, Nara and Narayana. Hari can be a more 
generic epithet applied to several Hindu gods. 

Hariri (green or stealing) 

1. Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 

One of the group of Mataras (mothers) who are 
the patrons of children. Considered by some to be 
identical with the goddess Vriddhi. Her consort is 
Pancika, alternatively KUBERA. In her destructive 
aspect she steals and eats children. Particularly 
known from the north and northwest of India. 
Attribute: a child may be held at her hip, some- 
times being eaten. 

2. Plague goddess. Buddhist. Associated with 
smallpox. Also regarded in some texts as the god- 
dess of fertility. 

Harmachis [Greek] 

Form of the god HoRUS. Egyptian. Harmachis is 
Horus as the sun god. Inscriptions from the New 



Kingdom (circa 1550-1000 BC) identify the sphinx 
at Giza as Harmachis looking toward the eastern 
horizon. Also Har-em-akhet (Egyptian). 

Harmonia 

Goddess of joining. Greco-Roman. Daughter 
of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) or 
Cytherea. The consort of Cadmus and mother 
of Ino, Semele, Agave, Autonoe and Polydorus. 
She is the apotheosis of harmony in life which 
is also displayed in musical euphony. Also 
Hermione. 

Haroeris [Greek] 

Form of the god HORUS as a man. Egyptian. The 
name distinguishes the mature deity from HAR- 
POKRATES, the child Horus. In this form he 
avenges his father, OsiRLS, and regains his 
kingdom from Seth, his uncle. He is depicted as 
the falcon god. Also Harueris; Har-wer (both 
Egyptian); HARENDOTES. 

Harpina 

River goddess. Greek. Daughter of the river god 
Asopos, she was seduced by Ares, who fathered 
Oenomaus (a king said to have reigned near 
Olympia) on her. 

Harpokrates [Greek] 

Form of the god HORUS as a child. Egyptian. 
Generally depicted sitting on the knee of his 
mother, the goddess IsiS, often suckhng at the left 
breast and wearing the juvenile side-lock of hair. 
He may also be invoked to ward off dangerous 
creatures and is associated with crocodiles, snakes 
and scorpions. He is generally representative of 
the notion of a god-child, completing the union 
of two deities. Also Har-pa-khered (Egyptian). 



114 Harsa 



Harsa (desire) 

Goddess. Hindu. The Sakti of the god Hrskesa. 
Harsiese 

Form of the god HORUS. Egyptian. Specifically 
when personifying the child of ISIS and OSIRIS. 
According to the Pyramid Texts, Harsiese per- 
forms the "opening of the mouth" rite for the dead 
king. 

Harsomtus [Greek] 

Form of the god HORUS. Egyptian. In this 
form Horus unites the northern and southern 
kingdoms of Egypt. He is depicted as a child com- 
parable with Harpokrates. At the Edfu temple, 
he is identified thus as the offspring of Horus the 
elder and Hathor. Also Har-mau (Egyptian). 

Hasatneli 

God of metalworkers. Hittite and Human. 
Invoked by blacksmiths. 

Hasta (hand) 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent naksatra or astral goddess; 
daughter of Daksa and wife of QysTDRA (Soma). 

Hastehogan 

Chief house god. Navaho [USA]. Also a god of 
farming identified with the west and the sky at 
sunset. Regarded as a benevolent deity who aids 
mankind and cures disease. Believed to live in a 
cave system near San Juan. He also has a malev- 
olent aspect in which he can cast evil spells. His 
priest wears a blue mask, at the bottom of which 
is a horizontal yellow band representing evening 
light, with eight vertical black strokes repre- 



senting rain. It is decorated with eagle and owl 
feathers. 

Hastsbaka 

Male elder of the gods. Navaho [USA]. Otherwise 
of uncertain status. His priest wears a blue buck- 
skin mask with a fringe of hair, a spruce collar 
and a scarlet loin cloth with a leather belt deco- 
rated with silver and with a fox pelt dangling from 
the back. He is otherwise naked and painted 
white. He holds a whitened gourd ratde, which 
may be decorated with spruce twigs, in his right 
hand, and a wand of spruce in his left hand. Also 
"Vebaka. 

Hastsebaad 

Chief of goddesses. Navaho [USA]. She is involved 
in rites of exorcism and wields considerable influ- 
ence. The six goddesses of the tribe all wear iden- 
tical masks, and in ritual the part of the deity is 
played by a boy or small man wearing a mask 
which covers the entire head and neck, and who 
is almost naked but for an ornate scarf on the hips 
and a leather belt decorated with silver and with 
a fox pelt dangUng behind. The skin is painted 
white. 

Hastseltsi 

God of racing. Navaho [USA]. He organizes and 
oversees athletic races. The priest who imper- 
sonates him has to be a good runner and 
challenges others, using high-pitched squeaking 
calls. If the priest wins, the contender is whipped 
with a yucca scourge. If the contender wins, 
there is no penalty! A fastidious deity who avoids 
contact with any unclean objects. His ceremo- 
nial mask is a domino shape covering mouth and 
throat with white shells over the eyes and 
mouth. 



HATHOR I 1 5 



Hastseoltoi 

Goddess of hunting. Navaho [USA]. She may be 
seen as the consort of the war god Nayenezgani. 
She carries two arrows, one in each hand, and 
wears a quiver and bow case. Navaho tradition 
dictates that no pictures are drawn of this deity. 
See also Artemis. 

Hastseyalti (talking elder) 
Chief of gods. Navaho [USA]. Not regarded as a 
creator deity, but god of the dawn and the eastern 
sky. Also guardian of animals in the hunt and, 
possibly, of corn. Regarded as a benevolent deity 
who aids mankind and cures disease. He also has 
a malevolent aspect in which he can cast evil 
spells. His priest invokes him in a ceremonial 
dance wearing a white mask with a symbol con- 
sisting of a corn stalk with two ears. At the bottom 
is a horizontal yellow band representing evening 
hght, with eight vertical black strokes represent- 
ing rain. Also Yebitsai. 

Hastsezini 

God of fire. Navaho [USA] . A "black" god who is 
reclusive and generally apart from other deities. 
He is the inventor of fire and of the fire drill and 
board. His priest dresses in black and wears a 
black mask with white-bordered eye and mouth 
holes. The ceremonial fire drill is made from 
cedarwood. 

Hatdastsisi 

God. Navaho [USA]. A benevolent deity, he cures 
disease through the medium of his priest, who 
flagellates the affected parts. His home is beUeved 
to be near Tsegihi in New Mexico. Sacrifices to 
Hatdastsisi are made up from reeds decorated 
with a design representing the blue yucca plant, 
which is buried in the earth to the east of the 



tribal lodge. His priest wears a buckskin mask 
decorated with owl feathers, and a spruce collar, 
but otherwise ordinary Navaho dress with white 
buckskin leggings. 

HATHOR 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Mother goddess and goddess 
of love. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from Old Kingdom 
(circa 2700 BC), but possibly earlier, until the 
end of Egyptian history (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS none significant. 

center(s) of cult Dendara, Giza, Thebes. 

ART REFERENCES Wall paintings from the major 
sanctuary at Dendara; sculptures including an 
outstanding composition from the temple of 
King Menkaure at Giza; rehefs in the temple of 
Queen Hatsheput at Thebes; other contempo- 
rary sculpture and painting; sistrum rattles, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Book of the Dead, Harris 
Papyrus etc. 

Hathor is a major Egyptian deity, with a benign 
motherly nature and invariably depicted, in one 
form or another, as a cow goddess with strong 
sky associations. Her father is the sun god Re and 
she is often described as the mother of all Egypt- 
ian pharaohs. In early times evidence suggests 
that she was regarded as the mother of HORUS, 
but once the OSIRIS legend gained widespread 
popularity, she came to bear a complex protective 
rather than maternal relationship with Horus. In 
a conflicting tradition stemming from the cult 
center of Horus at Edfu in Upper Egypt, Hathor 
is also drawn as Horus' consort. In the legend of 
the "eye of Re," she shows a potentially destruc- 
tive nature, but this is an isolated instance. 

In art she may be depicted as a cow, as in the 
sculpture of her browsing among papyrus plants 
and suckUng the pharaoh Axnenhotep II from the 
Hathor sanctuary of Tuthmosis III, or in human 



I 1 6 Hatmehyt 



form wearing a hairstyle which mimics the 
Mesopotamian "omega" symbol (see NlNHUR- 
SAGA). In the latter depiction she wears a crown 
which consists of a sun disc surrounded by the 
curved horns of a cow. She is prominent thus in 
many of the royal tombs in the Valley of the 
Kings at Thebes where she is seen as a funerary 
deity strongly linked with Re when he descends 
below the western horizon. Hathor is also repre- 
sented, not infrequently, in the capitals of archi- 
tectural columns. Like Ninhursaga she is 
associated with lions. Other symbols include the 
papyrus reed and the snake. 

Hathor is also a goddess of love and sexuality, 
and is associated with the erotic aspects of music 
and dancing. Her priestesses carried sistrum rat- 
tles and menat "necklaces," both of which are 
percussion instruments used in cultic rites. The 
pharaoh was the "son of Hathor" and every 
Egyptian princess automatically became a priest- 
ess of the goddess. Many pharaonic tombs and 
magical papyri include description of "seven 
Hathors" who predict the fate of a child at birth 
and these deities were often called upon in 
spells. 

Hathor enjoyed great popularity in Greco- 
Roman culture and many elements in the makeup 
of the goddess Aphrodite are modeled on her 
Egyptian style. 

Hatmehyt (she -who leads the fishes) 
Fertility and guardian goddess of fish and fisher- 
men. Egyptian. Local deity whose cult center was 
at Mendes [Tell el-Ruba] in the Nile delta. She 
is the consort of the ram god Banebdjedet. 
Depicted anthropomorphically, or as a fish. 

Hatthi 

Plague goddess. Hindu. Particularly associated 
vnth cholera in northwestern India. 



Haubas 

Local god. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. Known 
from inscriptions. 

Hauhet 

Primordial goddess. Egyptian. One of the eight 
deities of the Ogdoad, representing chaos, she is 
coupled with the god Heh and appears in anthro- 
pomorphic form but with the head of a snake. 
The pair epitomize the concept of infinity. She is 
also depicted greeting the rising sun in the guise 
of a baboon. 

Haukim 

Local god. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. Possibly 
a deity concerned with arbitration and the law. 

Haumea 

Mother goddess. [Hawaiian.] She is the daughter 
of Papatuanuku, the primordial earth mother, 
and is revered by many people of Pohnesia and 
by the Maori of New Zealand. Her more notable 
children include Pele, the volcano goddess of 
Hawaii, and Hi'aika, the goddess of the dance. 
As a deity responsible for birth, Haumea pos- 
sesses a magical wand that she used at the time of 
creation to engender fruit trees and fish. From 
time to time she uses it to replenish stocks. 
Mythology also identifies her as a heroine who 
saved herself and her consort from enemies at 
the time of creation by hiding in a breadfruit tree 
and fending off the attackers with poisonous sap 
and wood splinters. 

Haumiatiketike 

Vegetation god. Polynesian (including Maori). 
The deity concerned vnth vnld plants gathered as 
food, and particularly with the rhizome of the 



HEBAT I 1 7 



bracken which has been traditionally relied on by 
die Maori in times of famine or need. 

Haurun 

Chthonic or earth god. Western Semitic 
(Canaanite). Haurun was introduced to Egyptian 
religion probably by emigre workers who related 
him to the sculpture of the Sphinx at Giza. Hau- 
run was known locally as a god of healing. 

Hayagriva (horse neck) 

1 . The most significant minor incarnation of the 
god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). He prob- 
ably originated as a horse god and later became an 
avatara associated with wisdom and knowledge. 
At the behest of Brahma, Hayagriva rescued the 
Vedas, stolen by two demons, from the bottom of 
the primeval ocean. Depicted in human form with 
the head of a horse and, according to the texts, 
eight hands. Attributes: book (Veda), horse's mane 
and rosary. Also the attributes of Visnu. Also 
Hayasirsa, Vadavavaktra. 

2. Patron god of horses. Buddhist-Lamaist 
[Tibet]. One of a group of DHARMAPALAwith ter- 
rible appearance and royal attire, he is considered 
to be an emanation of Aksobhya or Amitabha. 
His Sakti is Mamci. Color: red. Attributes: horse 
heads, staff and trident, but also arrow, ax, banner, 
bow, club, flames, flower, image of Aksobhya or 
Amitabha on the crown, lotus, noose, prayer wheel, 
skin, snakes, sword and trident. Three-eyed. 

Haya-Ji 

God of winds. Shinto [Japan]. Particularly the 
fierce god of whirlwinds and typhoons. In 
mythology he carried back to heaven the body of 
Ame-Waka-Hiko (the heavenly young prince) 
after he had been slain by an arrow from the 
"heavenly true deer bow." 



Hayasvim 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). Known from texts, but of 
uncertain function. 

Hayasya 

1. Horse god. Hindu. Probably identical with 
Hayagriva. 

2. Horse goddess. Buddhist. Attribute: the head 
of a horse. 

Hazzi 

Mountain god. Hittite and Hurrian. Invoked in 
Hittite treaties as a deity responsible for oaths. A 

deity of the same name was worshiped by the 
Hurrians, but not necessarily in the same con- 
text. 

He Xian-gu 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 

"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, she was 
once a mortal being who achieved immortahty 
through her lifestyle. The tutelary goddess of 
housewives and the only female deity among the 
group. Attributes include a ladle, lotus and peach 
fruit. 

He Zur (the great white one) 

Baboon god. Egyptian. Known from the Old 

Kingdom and regarded as a manifestation of 

Thot. 

HEBAT 

ORIGIN Hittite and Hurrian [Anatoha]. Patron 

goddess and mother goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP 2000 BC or earlier 

until 1300 BC or later. 



I I 8 Hebe 



SYNONYMS possibly Hepatu; HannahannaS; 

KUBABA. 

center(s) of cult Hattusas [Boghazkoy and 
Yazilikaya]; Arinna; other sanctuaries within the 
Hittite Empire extending down into the north 
Syrian plain. 

ART REFERENCES seals and seal impressions; 
sculptures; monumental rock carvings. 

LITERARY SOLTRCES cimeiform and hieroglyphic 
texts from Boghazkoy, etc. 

Hebat was adopted from the Hurrian pantheon 
as the principal goddess of state religion in the 
Hittite Empire, though because of name changes 
her precise role is not always clear. She is 
described as the "great goddess." In some texts 
she is also the "sun goddess of Arinna" (a reli- 
gious center near Boghazkoy thus far lost to 
archaeology) but her relationship to the sun god, 
in one fragmentary text called Kumarbi and 
described as the king of the gods, god of right 
and justice, is unclear. She is more intimately 
linked with the weather god Tesub, "king of 
heaven, lord of the land of Hatti" and god of bat- 
tle who, according to the same legend, displaced 
Kumarbi as king of the gods. 

Hebat is often drawn as a matronly figure, with- 
out weapons, but generally in company with a 
Hon. hi a famous procession of gods carved on 
rock faces at Yazilikaya, the leading goddess is 
called Hepatu. 

NOTE: these sanctuaries were often created 
where vertical rock facades suitable for carving 
relief sculptures existed near water. 

Hebe 

Goddess of youth. Greek. The daughter of Zeus 
and Hera and the consort of Herakles. The 
cup-bearer of the gods of Olympus. In the Roman 
pantheon she becomes JUVENTAS. 



Hegemone 

Greek. The name given to one of the Gratiae in 
the traditions of Athens. 

Heh 

Primordial god. Egyptian. One of the eight 
deities of the Ogdoad, representing chaos, he is 
coupled with the goddess Hauhet and appears in 
anthropomorphic form but with the head of a 
frog. The pair epitomize the concept of infinity. 
He is also depicted greeting the rising sun in the 
guise of a baboon. In another context he is 
depicted kneeling, frequently on a basket which 
represents the hieroglyph for universality. He 
may carry the ankh symbol and hold palm rubs in 
each hand. 

HEIMDALL (earth-watcher) 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). Of uncertain status 

but probably a guardian deity. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP ViMng period (circa 

AD 700) and earlier, through to Christianization 

(circa AD 1100). synonyms Mardall; possibly 

Rig; "the white god." 
center(s) OF CULT none known. 
ART REFERENCES none known but probably the 

subject of anonymous carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 

(Snorri); place names. 

Heimdall is an enigmatic deity to whom there is 
considerable reference in the codices. He is 
drawn as the sentry or guardian, a tireless 
watcher over Asgard, needing no sleep and able 
to see in the darkest of nights. According to 
mythology, he lives beside the rainbow bridge 
coimecting Asgard with the other realms. His 
symbol is the Gjallarhorn which is used to alert 
the gods to the onset of Ragnarok (doom). He 



Helen I 1 9 



came also to be associated with guardianship of 
the world tree (Yggdrasil). Said to be born of 
nine giantesses, the waves of the sea (see Aegir) 
and in some legends he is the father of mankind. 
The Voluspa (Codex Regius) begins with the 
words: "Hear me, all ye hallowed beings, both 
high and low of Heimdall's children." Heimdall 
has close links with Freyja and his synonym 
Mardall parallels MardoU (see Freyja). He may 
even have been a Vanir god. Said to have fought 
a sea battle with LOKi. 

HEKATE 

ORIGIN Greek. Goddess of the moon and of 
pathways. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC until 

Christianization (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Hecate. 
center(s) OF CULT Lagina. 
ART REFERENCES Sculptures and reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Theogony (Hesiod) etc. 

Hekate is the daughter of Perses and Asteria 
and is subsequently honored by Zeus as a god- 
dess. She is the mother of Scylla and is specifi- 
cally a goddess of pathways and crossroads 
traveled by night. Artistic representations show 
her carrying torches. Where paths met, a triple 
figure of Hecate rose from masks placed at the 
junction. Offerings were left in roadside shrines 
and at junctions. In later times she tended to 
become syncretized with the goddess Artemis. 
Hekate is also the patron of Medea and other 
witches, and in some parts of Thessaly she was 
worshiped by occult bands of female moon- 
worshipers. In variations of the Demeter leg- 
ends Hekate plays a part in the return of 
PERSEPHONE from Hades. She is also invoked 
as a bestower of wealth and favor. 



Heket 

Frog goddess concerned with birth. Fgyptian. 
Minor deity who by some traditions is the con- 
sort of Haroeris {see also HORUS). Texts refer to 
a major sanctuary at Tuna et-Gebel which has 
been totally obliterated. The remains of another 
sanctuary survive at Qus in Upper Egypt. In the 
Pyramid Texts she is referred to as a deity who 
eases the final stages of labor. Depicted as wholly 
frog-like or as a frog-headed human figure, often 
found on amulets or other magical devices asso- 
ciated with childbirth. 

Hel 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Germanic and 
Nordic (Icelandic). The daughter of LOKi and 
the giantess Angrboda, and the sibling of both 
the Midgard worm who will cause the sea to flood 
the world with the lashings of his tail, and of Fen- 
rir, the phantom wolf who will swallow the sun, at 
Ragnarok. She is queen of the otherworld, also 
known as Hell, and she takes command of all who 
die, except for heroes slain in battle, who ascend 
to Valhalla. In some mythologies she is depicted 
as half black and half white. She was adopted into 
British mythology. 

Helen 

Goddess [Greek] associated with the city of Troy. 
Helen is frequently alleged, in Homeric tradition, 
to have been a mortal heroine or a demigoddess. 

In his Catalogues of Women Hesiod, the Greek 
contemporary of Homer and author of the 
definitive Theogony of the Greek pantheon, con- 
founds tradition by making Helen the daughter 
of Zeus and Ocean. Other Greek authors con- 
temporary with Hesiod give Helen's mother as 
Nemesis, the Greco-Roman goddess of justice 
and revenge, who was raped by Zeus. The 



120 HELIOS 



mythology placing Helen as a demigoddess 
identifies her mother as Leda, the mortal wife of 
Tyndareus, also seduced by Zeus who fathered 
Pollux as Helen's brother. However Hesiod 
strongly denied these claims. 

Homeric legend describes Helen's marriage to 
King Menelaus of Sparta and her subsequent 
abduction by Paris, said to have been the catalyst 
for the Trojan War. After her death, mythology 
generally places her among the stars with the 
Dioscuri (sons of Zeus), better known as Castor 
and Pollux, the twins of the Gemini constella- 
tion. Helen was revered on the island of Rhodes 
as the goddess Dendritis. 

See also DiSKOURl. 

HELIOS 

ORIGIN Greek. Svin god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC in 
Greece (but an adoption from much earlier 
times), until Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) oe cult Rhodes. 

ART REFERENCES Colossus of Rhodes (lost); other 
sculptures. 

LITERARY SOURCES Odyssey (Homer); Theogony 
(Hesiod). 

Helios is not specifically a Greek deity, since 
the concept of a sun god was more or less 
universal in the ancient world, but in the 
Theogony he is identified as the son of 
Hyperion and his sister Euryphaessa. He drives 
the chariot of the sun by day and descends 
beneath the ocean at night. On Rhodes, 
allegedly the site of the largest Greek statue of 
a deity, the so-called Rhodes "Colossus" cast in 
bronze, there was a celebrated festival of Helios 
during which a chariot with four horses was 
driven off a cliff, symbolizing the setting of the 
sun into the sea. 



Hemantadevi 

Goddess of winter. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
One of several seasonal deities. Also an attendant 
of Sridevi. Usually accompanied by a camel. 
Color: blue. Attributes: cup and hammer. 

Hendursaga 

God of the law. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). He was titled by Gudea of 
Lagas "herald of the land of Sumer." 

HEPHAISTOS 

ORIGIN Greco-Roman, perhaps preceded by Etr- 
uscan. God of fire and smithies. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1 500 BC until 
Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Hephaestus (Roman). 

center(s) of cult sanctuaries on Lemnos and, 
from circa 450 BC, in Athens opposite the 
AcropoUs on the hill above the Agora. Also a 
significant shrine at Ephesus. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures and reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Iliad, Odyssey (Homer); 
Theogony (Hesiod). 

One of the twelve major deities of Olympus, 
Hephaistos is one of the sons of Hera who, in 
disappointment at having borne a child with 
deformed legs, threw him to earth where he was 
taken in and cared for by the people of Lemnos. 
In spite of physical disabilities, which set him 
apart from the other, physically perfect, deities 
of Olympus, Hephaistos draws on peculiar pow- 
ers in the making of metal objects, which often 
possess magical qualities. He fathered the race of 
arcane _K4B£ffiO/ blacksmith gods. The Hephaistos 
cult may have originated on the island of Lemnos 
with a tribal group the Greeks knew as Tyrsenoi. 
Hephaistos consorted briefly with AXHENA, who 
subsequently gave birth to Erichthonos, the first 



HERAKLES 121 



king of Athens. In the Odyssey he is said to be the 
consort of APHRODITE. In the Iliad he is married 
to Charis (Grace). He made a famous shield for 
Achilles which was said to reflect the world and all 
that was in it. 

HERA 

ORIGIN Greek. The wife of Zeus. 

KNOWN PERIOD OE WORSHIP circa 800 BC, but 

probably earlier, until Christianization (circa 

AD 400). 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF CULT Plataea (Boeotia) and others. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures and carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Iliad (Homer); Theogony 
(Hesiod). 

As the long-suffering, but also jealous and quar- 
relsome, wife of the philandering and all-powerful 
god Zeus, Hera adopts a position in the Greek 
pantheon that is at times ambiguous. The rela- 
tionship with Zeus is incestuous since she is also 
the eldest daughter of Kronos and therefore 
Zeus's full sister. Mythology views her both as an 
independent and wilful senior goddess, and as a 
tragi-comic figure. Her marriage involves a degree 
of subterfuge, persuading Zeus by means of a 
magic girdle momentarily to forget his preoccupa- 
tions with the Trojan War. In another piece of leg- 
end Zeus torns himself into a cuckoo so that he 
may fly into Hera's bosom. Who seduced whom 
thus remains ambiguous. Curiously, neither in Ut- 
erature nor in art is Hera perceived as a mother 
goddess. She seems to have borne only a limited 
number of Zeus's named children. The most 
prominent is Ares, yet he is also the least favored 
by the god. Other minor offspring included Hebe 
and Eileithyia. Hera relates to Zeus in three 
distinct "phases" — consummation in which she is 
pais the girl; wedding and fulfillment as teleia; and 
separation when she becomes chera. 



As stepmother to Zeus's illegitimate children, 
Hera displays a jealous and malicious character, 
directing her anger at Herakles and DiONYSOS 
in particular. In a fire festival practiced in Boeo- 
tia to the "great Daedala," wooden images were 
burned to enact a legend whereby Plataea, one of 
Zeus's concubines, was stripped naked, humili- 
ated and immolated by a jealous Hera. 

During a New Year festival, the Heraia, to 
honor Hera, her priestesses were carried to the 
sanctuary on a cart drawn by oxen which also 
presumably contained a statue of the goddess. 
Traditionally a women's games festival dedicated 
to Hera was also held on Olympus every four 
years. 



HERAKLES (the fame of Hera?) 

ORIGIN Greek. Heroic god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC, but 
probably originating from a prehistoric model, 
until Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Heracles (Roman). 

center(s) OF CULT none specific. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures and carvings; pillars 
of Herakles. 

LITERARY SOURCES Herakles (Euripedes); Iliad 
and Odyssey (Homer); Catalogues (Hesiod); 
Dodekathlos (Peisandros); votive inscriptions. 

Herakles probably originates out of a diffusion of 
heroic myths about hunting spirits, as a shaman who 
protected the tribe against vdld animals and who 
possessed the necessary supernatural skills to ensure 
a safe outcome to the chase. This foundation may 
then have drawn on role models such as NiNURTA, 
found in ancient Near Eastern culture. Herakles is 
a son of Zeus and Hera and the consort of 
Deianeira (destroyer of man). He is a heroic god of 
massive stature and prodigious appetite (see also 
Thor) who performs many feats of strength and 



1 22 Hercules 



courage, including the liberation of PROMETHEUS. 
He is a slayer of lions and engages in combat with 
mythical creatures comparable to those found on 
Mesopotamian seals. He thus destroyed the seven- 
headed serpent and hunted many others. He is fre- 
quently depicted wearing a lion skin. His exploits 
include the cleansing of the Augean stables so as to 
earn a tenth part of the cattle of the sun, the catch- 
ing of the Stymphalos birds, the temporary cap- 
ture of Cerberus, the hound of Hades, and the 
picking of the golden apples of immortality. 

Herakles became the god-ancestor of the 
Dorian kings. Alexander the Great had an image 
of him incorporated into his coinage. According 
to one legend, Deianeira contrived Herakles's 
death in a fit of jealous pique with a robe tainted 
with the poisoned blood of a centaur, ironically 
from one of Herakles's own arrows, which 
inflicted such torture upon him that he commit- 
ted suicide by self-immolation on Mount Oita 
(near Trachis). In a conflicting myth Herakles 
slew his wife and children at Thebes. Herakles 
enjoyed cult centers in many places, with the 
notable exception of Crete. There were major 
sanctuaries on Thasos and on Mount Oita, where 
every four years the death of the god was marked 
by a sacrificial fire festival. A similar rite is known 
from Tarsos in Cilicia for the god Sandon. The 
festivities were often marked by huge feasts. In 
Roman culture he becomes HERCULES. 

Hercules 

God. Roman. 
See also HERAKLES. 

Heret-Kau 

Underworld goddess. Egyptian (Lower). Very Ht- 
tle is known of Heret-Kau. She was recognized 
chiefly in the Old Kingdom (27th to 22nd 
centuries BC), apparently concerned with 



guardianship of the deceased in the afterUfe and 
sometimes appearing as a figurine in attendance 
on IsiS in building foundations. 

Hermaphroditos 

God(dess) of uncertain status. Greek. The off- 
spring of Hermes and Aphrodite and the lover 
of the water nymph Salmakis. Tradition has it that 

their passion for one another was so great that 
they merged into a single androgynous being. 

HERMES 

ORIGIN Greek. Messenger of the gods. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC but 

probably earHer until Christianization (circa AD 
400). 
SYNONYMS none. 

CENTER(s) of cult Pheneos (Arcadia); other- 
wise few specific places, but strongly associated 
with wayside shrines and cairns. 

ART references probably certain prehistoric 
phallic figures marking boundaries; Parthenon 
frieze; Hermes of Praxiteles in Olympia. 

LITERARY SOURCES Iliad, Odyssey (Homer); 
Theogony (Hesiod). 

Hermes is the son of a nymph, AlAlA, who con- 
sorted with Zeus. He was born in the Arcadian 
mountains, a complex, Machiavellian character 
full of trickery and sexual vigor. His most signif- 
icant consort is Aphrodite. He is a god of 
boundaries, guardian of graves and patron deity 
of shepherds. Perversely, he patronizes both her- 
alds and thieves and is a bringer of good fortune. 
According to legend Hermes as a day-old infant 
stole the cattle of his elder brother Apollo while 
playing a lyre. Legend accords to him the inven- 
tion of fire, also generated on his first day. Her- 
mes's skills at theft were put to use by the other 
gods of Olympus, who sent him to liberate Ares 



HERYSAF 123 



from a barrel and to bring King Priam of Troy 
into conciliatory meeting with the Greek war 
hero Achilles after the death of Hector. 

Classical art depicts Hermes wearing winged 
golden sandals and holding a magical herald's staff 
consisting of intertwined serpents, the kerykeion. 
He is reputedly the only being able to find his way 
to the underworld ferry of Charon and back 
again. Hence he was sent to bring both Perse- 
phone and Eurydice back from Hades. In com- 
pany with other Greek gods, Hermes is endowed 
with not-inconsiderable sexual prowess which he 
directs toward countryside nymphs and with 
which he also maintains a healthy and thriving 
population of sheep and goats! He was often rep- 
resented in wayside shrines in the form of a phal- 
lic pillar or post which was regarded as a funerary 
monument, hence the role of grave guardian. 

Hermod 

Messenger god. Nordic (Icelandic). One of the 
sons of the Viking god Othin, he was sent to 

Hel on a mission to obtain the release of the god 
Balder, who had been slain by the blind god 
Hod. The mission failed because only one crea- 
ture in the world, a hag (probably LOKi in dis- 
guise), failed to weep at Balder's loss and Hermod 
returned empty-handed. It may be argued that 
Hermod is less a deity than a demigod hero mod- 
eled on the Danish king of the Beowulf Saga. Also 
Heremod; Hermoth. 

Hermus 

River god. Roman. A sanctuary has been identi- 
fied at Sardis. 

Heme 

Chthonic underworld god. Celtic (British) or 
Anglo-Saxon. Known locally from Windsor 



Great Park, Berkshire, England, he equates 
with the Welsh deities Gwynn Ap Nudd and 
Arawn and is, according to legend, the leader 
of the phantom hunt. Depicted with stag-like 
antlers. 

Heros 

Chthonic underworld god. Thracian. Depicted 
as a horseman. His image regularly appears on 
funerary stelae. 

Heruka 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). One of the most pop- 
ular deities in the pantheon, though probably 
owing much to the influence of the Hindu god 
SrvA. Originally an epithet for another Hindu 
god, Ganesa, but in Buddhism seen as an ema- 
nation of Aksobhya. His Sakti is Nairamata and 
the product of their liaison is nirvana (eternal 
bUss). Typically he stands upon a corpse. In north- 
eastern India, Heruka is worshiped as a compas- 
sionate god. Attributes: club, flayed human skin, 
image of Aksobhya, jewel, knife, fifty skulls, 
sword, staff and teeth. 

HERYSAF (he who is upon his lake) 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Primeval deity associated both 

with Osiris and Re. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from circa 2 700 BC, 

and probably earlier, until the end of Egyptian 

history (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Arsaphes (Plutarch). 
center(s) of cult Hnes (Ihnasya el-Medina) 

near Beni Suef 
ART references reliefs and sculptures including 

a gold figurine held by the Boston Museum of 

Fine Arts. 

literary sources stela from Hnes later moved 
to Pompeii (Naples Museum). 



124 Hesat 



Herj^af is a ram god said to have emerged from the 
primeval ocean, possibly recreated in the form of a 
sacred lake at Hnes, the capital of Lower Egypt for 
a time at the beginning of the third milleiuiium 
(during the First Intermediate Period). The god is 
depicted with a human torso and the head of a ram 
wearing the atef crown of Lower Egypt. 

Herysaf began as a local deity but took on 
national importance as the soul {ba) of Re, and of 
Osiris. Herysaf's sanctuary was enlarged by 
Rameses II and the god is said to have protected 
the hfe of the last Egj^tian pharaoh when the 
Persian and later Macedonian dominations 
began. He eventually became syncretized with 
Herakles in Greco-Roman culture and Hnes 
became known as Herakleopolis. 

Hesat 

Goddess of birth. Egyptian. Minor guardian of 
pregnant and nursing mothers whose milk, the 
"beer of Hesat," nourishes humanity. Identified in 
some texts as the mother of Anubis. Depicted as 
a cow. 

HESTIA 

ORIGIN Greek. Goddess of hearth and home. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC but 

probably earlier and through until Christian- 
ization (circa AD 400). synonyms Histie. 

center(s) of cult local household shrines. 

ART references none. 

LITERARY SOURCES Hymn to Aphrodite (Homer); 
Phaedra (Plato). 

Hestia is a minor goddess in the Greek pantheon, 
but one who enjoyed importance in individual 
households. One of the daughters of Kronos and 
Rhea, her adherence to the fireside prevented 
her from joining the procession of gods described 
in Plato's Phaedra. On oath she remained virginal 
following the notion that fire is phallic and that 



she was wedded faithfiiUy to the sacred hearth 
fire. By tradition maiden Greek daughters tended 
the household hearth. Hestia was conventionally 
offered small gifts of food and drink. 

Hetepes-Sekhus 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Egyptian. A minor 
deity accompanied by a retinue of crocodiles. As 
one of the manifestations of the vengeful "eye of 
Re," she destroys the souls of the adversaries of 
the underworld ruler OsiRlS. Depicted as a cobra 
or anthropomorphically with a cobra's head. 

Hevajira 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A bodhisattva 
(buddha-dtsignntc) and an emanation of Aksob- 
HYA. The Tantric form of Heruka and the Bud- 
dhist equivalent of the Hindu god Siva Nataraja. 
His Sakti is Nairamata or Vajravarahi and he 
may appear dominating the four MASAS (the 
Hindu gods Brahma, ViSnu, Siva and Indra). 
Color: blue. Attributes: bell, bow, hook, image of 
Aksobhya on crown, jewel, lotos, prayer wheel, 
wine glass. He holds a skull in each hand and an 
assortment of other weapons. Three- or eight- 
headed, from two to sixteen arms and two or four 
legs; three-eyed. 

Hexchuchan 

God of war. Mayan (Itza, classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of several to whom the resin 
copal was burned before starting a battle. He may 
have been a tribal ancestor. 

Hi'aika 

Goddess. Hawaiian. The daughter of Haumea 
and younger sister of Pele, the volcano goddess, 

Hi'aika is the mistress of the dance and especially 
of the hula. Separate traditions identify her with 



Hina 125 



Laka, the god of the hula and the son of KANE, 
the god of light; and with a goddess, Na Wahine, 
the daughter of the primordial creator principle 
Keawe. The hula was designed to give a formal- 
ized structure to the enactment of myths and 
among the favorite topics is the romance between 
Pele and the hero Lohiau. According to mythol- 
ogy Hi'aika was entrusted with a mission to find 
Lohiau on Pele's behalf and to bring him back to 
her, a mission that subsequently enflamed the 
jealousy of Pele over her sister's developing rela- 
tionship with Lohiau, and brought about his 
death in Pele's fiery lava. 

Hi-Hiya-Hi 

Sun god. Shinto [Japan]. One of a number of 
minor sun deities, engendered from the blood of 
the god Kagu-Tsuchi and worshiped in the 
mountain sanctuary of the fire KAiMlS, Kono-Jinja. 
In Japan certain older people still worship the 
sun. They go outside at sunrise, face east and bow, 
clapping their hands. 

Hiisi 

T-ee god. Pre-Christian KareUan [Finland]. Said 
to reside in pine forests. After Christianization 
he was degraded to a troll. 

EQkoboshi 

Astral god. Shinto [fapan]. The consort of the 
star goddess Ame-No-Tanabata-Hine-No- 
MlKOTO. The two are, according to mythology, 
deeply in love. Their festival was merged with 
the Tibetan Bon festival of the dead, the Ullum- 
bana. Also Kengyu-Sei. 

Hiko-Sashiri-No-Kami 

God of carpenters. Shinto [Japan]. One of several 
minor deities involved in the building of a sacred 



hall of great beauty, used to entice the sun god- 
dess Amaterasu from her cave. Linked with the 
god Taoki-Ho-Oi-No-Kami. 

Hilal 

Moon god. Pre-Islamic Arabian. Specifically the 
deity of the new moon. 

Hi'Hna 

Tribal god. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte 
Island, Canada]. The personification of the thun- 
derbird known to many Indian tribes. The noise 
of the thunder is caused by the beating of its 
wings, and when it opens its eyes there is Ught- 
ning. The thunder clouds are its cloak. 

Himavan (snorwy) 

Mountain god. Hindu. The personification of 
the Himalaya and considered to be the father of 
Parvati and Ganga. His consort is Mena. Also 
Himavat. 
See also Himavan. 

Himerus 

God of desire. Greco-Roman. Member of the 
Olympian pantheon and attendant on Aphrodite 
(Venus). 

Hina 

Moon goddess. Polynesian [Tahiti]. In local 
traditions the daughter of the god Tangaroa and 
creatrix of the moon, which she governs. She Uves 
in one of its dark spots representing gloves of trees 
which she brought from earth in a canoe and 
planted. She is also represented as the consort of 
Tangaroa. Hina probably evolved in Tahiti fi-om 
the Polynesian underworld goddess Hine-Nui- 
Te-Po. Also SiNA (Samoa); Ina (Hervey Islands). 



126 Hina-Uri 



Hina-Uri 

Moon goddess. Polynesian. Also known as 
HiNA, Ina or SiNA, she is the sister of Maui and 
the consort of Irewaru. Tradition has it that she 
can manifest herself in two forms according to 
the limar phases. Her role is associated with fer- 
tility and her cult may have been imported from 
Asia, since SiN is the name of a western Asiatic 
moon god also closely associated with fertility 
rites. 

Hine-Ahu-One (maiden formed of the 
earth) 

Chthonic goddess. Polynesian (including Maori). 
Engendered by the god Tane when he needed a 
consort because, with the exception of the pri- 
mordial earth mother Papatuanuku, all the exist- 
ing gods of creation were male, lane created her 
out of the red earth and breathed life into her. She 
became the mother of Hine-Ata-Uira. 



Hine-Ata-Uira (daughter of the sparkling 
dawn) 

Goddess of hght. Polynesian (including Maori). 
The daughter of the creator god Tane and Hine- 
Ahu-One. She did not remain a sky goddess but 
descended into the underworld, where she 
became the personification of death, HlNE-Nui- 
Te-Po. 

Hine-Nui-Te-Po (great woman of the 

night) 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Polynesian 
(including Maori). Originally she was Hine-Ata- 
Uira, the daughter of Tane and Hine-Ahu- 
One, but she descended to rule over the 
underworld. She is depicted in human form but 
with eyes of jade, hair of seaweed and teeth like 
those of a predatory fish. 



Hinglaj(-Mata) 

Mother goddess. Hindu. Locally worshiped in 
northern India and particularly in Baluchistan. 

Hinkon 

Hunting god. Tungus (Siberian). Revered as the 
lord of all animals and controller of the chase. 

Hi-No-Kagu-Tsuchi 

Fire god. Shinto [Japan]. The deity whose birth 

caused the death by burning of the primordial 
goddess IZANAMI after which the eight thunders 
sprang from her corpse. 

Hiranyagarbha (golden egg) 
Creator god. Hindu (Vedic). Identified in the 
opening of the Rg Veda, as the god of the golden 
seed emerging from the cosmic egg. The halves 
of the shell become sky and earth, and the yolk 
becomes the sun. The embryo impregnates the 
primordial waters. 

Hiruko 

Minor sun god. Shinto (Japan). Identified as hav- 
ing been engendered after the sun and moon. 
Probably eclipsed by Amaterasu. 

Hittavainen 

Hunting god. Pre-Christian KareUan (Fiimish). 
Guardian deity of hare-hunters. 

Hlothyn 

Goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). A less common 
name for the goddess Fjorgynn, noted in the 
Trymskvoia from the Poetic Edda. The mother of 
Thor. 



Horagalles 1 27 



HODER 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). The blind god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP ViMng period (circa 

AD 700) and earlier through to Christianization 

(circa AD 1 100). 
SYNONYMS Hod, Hodur. 
center(s) of cult none known. 
ART references none known, but probably the 

subject of anonymous carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose 

Edda (Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); runic 

inscriptions. 

Hoder is one of the less well-defined of the Norse 
Aesir gods whose chief claim to notoriety lies in 
that he is responsible, in two separate narratives 
(Snorri's and Saxo's), for the death of the god 
Balder. In Snorri's Icelandic version Hoder is per- 
suaded by LOKi to hurl a piece of mistletoe at Balder 
(the only thing from which he is not protected): it 
toms into a lethal spear. According to Snorri, Hoder 
may even represent an agent of Hel. Saxo's Danish 
account has Hoder and Balder contesting the hand 
of the goddess Nanna. She eventually weds Hoder, 
who then slays Balder vrith a magic sword. Hoder 
himself is slain by his arch-enemy, the god Vali. 

Hoenir 

God. Nordic (Icelandic) Identified in the Voluspa 
{Poetic Edda) as the priest of the Viking gods who 
handles the "blood wands" i.e. divines future 
events. Some authors believe Hoenir to be a 
hypostasis of the god Othin, particularly con- 
cerned with giving the human race senses and 
feelings. Also known in north Germanic culture. 
He is said to have fled to Vanaheim after the great 
battle between the Aesir and Vanir gods. 

Hokushin-O-Kami 

Astral deity. Shinto [Japan]. The apotheosis of 
the "little bear," Ursa Minor. 



Ho-Musubi-No-Kami 

Fire god. Shinto [Japan]. One of a number of fire 
KAMIS who are honored in special Hi-Matsuri fes- 
tivals. The sacred fire can only be generated by a 
board and stick and is regarded as a powerfial 
purifier in Shintoism. The most celebrated tem- 
ple of the fire kamis is on Mount Atago near 
Kyoto; worshipers are dravm to it from all over 
Japan to obtain charms as protection against fire. 

Ho-No-Kagu-Tsuchi-No-Kami 

Fire god. Shinto [Japan]. One of a number of fire 
KAMIS who are honored in special Hi-Matsuri fes- 
tivals. The sacred fire can only be generated by a 
board and stick and is regarded as a powerful puri- 
fier in Shintoism. The most celebrated temple of 
the fire kamis is on Mount Atago near Kyoto to 
which worshipers are dravm from all over Japan to 
obtain charms as protection against fire. 

Honus 

Giod of military honors. Roman. Depicted as a 
youthful warrior carrying a lance and cornucopia. 

Ho-Po 

River god. Taoist (Chinese). The so-called 
"Count of the River," the deity who controls all 
rivers but particularly the \ellow River, and who 
is the subject of an official cult and sacrifice. 
According to tradition he achieved immortality 
by weighing himself down with stones and 
drowning himself He received an annual sacrifice 
of a young girl until the end of the Shou Dynasty 
circa 250 BC. Also Hebo; Ping-Yi. 

Horagalles 

Weather god. Lappish. The local embodiment of 
the Nordic (Icelandic) god Thor. Depicted as a 
bearded figure carrying a pair of hammers. 



1 28 Horkos 



Horkos 

God of oaths. Greek. The son of Eris (strife). 

HORUS [Greek] (the high one) 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Sky god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC until 

end of Egyptian history (circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Har (Egyptian); HaroeriS; Har-pa- 

khered or Harpokrates (Greek); Harsiese. Also 

Har-nedj-itef or Harendotes (Greek); Har-mau 

or Harsomtus (Greek); Harakhti; Har-em- 

akhet or Harmachis (Greek). 
center(s) of cult universal throughout areas 

of Egj^tian influence but particularly Mesen 

[Edfu] in Upper Egypt; Behdet in the delta; 

Nekhen or Hierakonpolis (Greek) [Kom el- 

Ahmar]; Khem or LetopoHs (Greek) [Ausim]; 

also at Buhen close to the second Nile cataract; 

Aniba in lower Nubia. 
art references pre-dynastic monuments; 

sculptures throughout Egyptian period. 
literary sources Pyramid Texts; coffin texts, 

etc. 

Horus is one of the most universally important 
gods in the Egyptian pantheon attested from the 
earliest recorded period. By tradition born at 
Khemmis in the Nile delta region, Horus's father 
was the dead OSIRIS, his mother was IsiS, but a 
complex genealogy recognized him distinctly as 
Horus, Horus the child (Harpokrates) and 
Horus the elder. In legend he was the first ruler 
of all Egypt after an eighty-year struggle for 
supremacy with his brother and rival Seth. 

Horus's symbol is the falcon and he is generally 
depicted either wholly as a hawk or in human 
form with a falcon's head. In some places the tra- 
dition by which his mother hid him in the papyrus 
marshes of the delta is recognized by depicting a 
falcon standing atop a column of papyrus reeds. 
He is also recognized as the "eye of Horus" — a 



human eye embelUshed with a tj^ical Egyptian 
cosmetic extension and subtended by the mark- 
ings of a falcon's cheek. As Horus the child, he is 
typically drawn naked and with fingers in mouth. 

Horus is a form of the sun god. The alternative 
name Harakhti translates "Horus of the horizon" 
and he is sometimes depicted as a sun disc mounted 
between falcon's wings. He is also the symbol of 
the god kings of Egypt. In early dynastic times the 
ruler was a "follower of Horus" but by 3000 BC he 
became Horus in hfe and Osiris in death. 

As Harpokrates, Horus is depicted naked and 
being suckled on Isis's knee and he often appears 
on amulets extending protection against lions, 
crocodiles, snakes and other dangerous animals. 
As the adult son of Isis, Haroeris, he performed 
the "opening of the mouth" ceremony on his dead 
father, Osiris, and avenged his death, regaining 
the throne of Egypt from Seth. Horus can also be 
the son of Horus the elder and Hathor. 

The "eye of Horus" arises from the legendary 
incident in which Seth tore out Horus's eye, 
which was later restored by his mother. The sym- 
bol can represent securit}^ of kingship, perfection 
and protection against the evil influence of Seth. 

Hotei 

GoA of luck. Shinto [Japan]. One of seven gods of 
fortune known in Shintoism. He is depicted with 
a large belly and dressed in the robes of a Bud- 
dhist priest. Attributes include a fan and a large 
sack on his shoulder which "never stops to give, 
despite continuous demand." 

Hotr(a) (invoker) 

Minor goddess of sacrifices. Hindu (Vedic). She 
is invoked to appear on the sacrificial field before 
a ritual and is particularly identified with the act 
of prayer. Usually associated with the goddess 
Sarasvati. 



Huang Ti 129 



Hours 

Underworld goddesses. Egyptian. The twelve 
daughters of the sun god Re. They act in concert 
against the adversaries of Re and control the des- 
tiny of human beings in terms of each person's Ufe 
span, reflecting the supremacy of order and time 
over chaos. The Hours are sometimes repre- 
sented on the walls of royal tombs in anthropo- 
morphic form with a five-pointed star above the 
head. Also Horae (Greek). 

Hrsikesa (lord of the senses) 

God. Hindu. Minor avatara of ViSNU. His Sakti 

is Harsa. 

HSI WANG MU (queen of the western 

heaven) 

ORIGIN Taoist (Chinese). Goddess of longevity. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP from prehistoric 

times until present. 
SYNONYMS XiWangMu. 

center(s) of cult throughout Chinese culture. 
ART REFERENCES paintings and sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES various philosophical and 

rehgious texts, mostly inadequately researched 

and untranslated. 

One of the oldest deities known in China, she may 
have originated as a plague goddess depicted with 
feline fangs and tail. Under Taoism she became 
more benign in nature, identified as both governing 
the length of mortal Ufe and granting the boon of 
longevity and, in some instances, immortaHty. Her 
home is in the western Chinese K'un Ltm moun- 
tains or, alternatively, in the Hindukush, where she 
is accompanied by five jade ladies. According to 
tradition she visited the earth on two occasions, 
once in 985 BC to the emperor Mu, and again in the 
second century BC to the emperor Wu Ti. 

She is the ruler of the west and is associated 
with the autumn, the season of old age. She is 



also identified in some texts as the golden mother 
of the tortoise, the animal which embodies the 
universe but which is also the dark warrior sym- 
bolizing winter and death. Her sacred animal is 
the crane, which is the Chinese symbol of 
longevity (it is often incorporated into faneral rit- 
uals). She is also said to be represented by the 
mythical phoenix. 

Hu 

God personifying royal authority. Egj^tian. One 

of several minor deities born from drops of blood 
emitting from the penis of the sun god Re (see 
also Sia). Hu epitomizes the power and command 
of the ruler. 

Huaca 

Spirit being. Inca (pre-Columbian South Amer- 
ica) [Peru, etc]. The apotheosis of a natural 
object such as a rock or a place of local impor- 
tance such as a spring. It is uncertain whether the 
principle is one of animism (when a deity takes 
on different natural shapes at will) or animatism 
(when an object is a supernatural being in its 
own right). 

Huanacauri 

Guardian spirit. Inca (pre-Columbian South 
America) [Peru, etc] . The apotheosis of a special 
spindle-shaped stone sited near Cuzco which pro- 
tected the Inca royal family and also featured 
strongly in the maturation rites of male Inca ado- 
lescents. Also Wanakawri. 

Huang Ti 

Astral god. Chinese. Allegedly a deified emperor, 
the so-called "yellow emperor," who rules the 
moving as distinct from dark heavens, the latter 



130 Hubal 



being presided over by the god Pak Tai. He is 
attributed with giving mankind the wheel. 

Hubal 

Local tutelary and oracular god. Pre-Islamic 
Arabian. An anthropomorphic figure of the deity 
in red carnelian still stands in the holy city of 
Mecca. 

Huban 

Tutelary god. Elamite [Iran]. Equating with the 
Sumerian Enlil. 

Huehuecoyotl (old coyote) 
Minor god of sexual lust. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the XlUHTECUHTLl complex. 

Huehuecoyod-Coyodinahual (coyote his 

disguise) 

Alinor god of feather workers. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the XlUHTECUHTLl complex. 

Huehuetod (old god) 

God of fire. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. Associated with paternalism and one of the 
group classed as the XlUHTECUHTLl complex. 

Huiracocha See Vairacocha. 

HUITZILPOCHTLI (blue hummingbird 
on left foot) 

ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 
Sun god, patron god of the Aztec nation. 



KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750, but 
probably much earlier, to circa AD 1500. 

SYNONYMS Blue TezcatHpoca. 

CENTER(s) OF CULT Tenochtitlan [Mexico City]. 

ART REFERENCES Stone Sculptures, murals, codex 
illustrations. 

LITERARY SOURCES pre-Columbian codices. 

The tutelary god of the Aztecs who also regarded 
him as a war god. He is the southern (blue) aspect 
or emanation of the sun god Tezcatlipoca, the 
so-called high-flying sun, and the head of the 
group classed as the Huitzilpochtli complex. He 
is regarded, in alternative tradition, as one of the 
four sons of Tezcatlipoca. His mother is the 
decapitated earth goddess Coatlicue, from 
whose womb he sprang fully armed. He slaugh- 
tered his sister (moon) and his 400 brothers 
(stars) in revenge for the death of his mother, 
signifying the triumph of sunlight over darkness. 
By tradition he led the people from their ances- 
tral home in Aztlan (perhaps in the state of 
Nayarit) with the promise of securing a great 
empire. He appeared to them in the form of an 
eagle clutching a serpent in its talons and stand- 
ing atop a cactus growing on a rocky island. This 
was Tenochtitlan, on the site of which Mexico 
City now stands. 

The Great Temple of Coatepec was dedicated 
to the cosmic battle. In ritual Huitzilopochti was 
fed on human hearts taken from captives, the 
blood of which was said to cool his heat; several 
wars were instigated to gain sacrificial material. 
For the origin of the name "blue hummingbird 
on left foot," see Tezcatlipoca. 

Huixtocihuad (lady of Huixtorin) 
Goddess of salt-makers. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the Tlaloc complex, generally 
involved with rain, agriculture and fertiUty. 



HyaMnthos 131 



Hun Hiinapu 

Creator god. Mayan (Yucatec and Quiche, classi- 
cal Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The father of 
HUNAPU and Ix Balan Ku. According to the sacred 
Mayan text Popol Vuh, he was decapitated during 

a football game and his head became lodged in the 
calabash tree which bore fioiit from that day. 

Hunab Ku 

Creator god. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico]. The greatest deity in the 
pantheon, no image is created of Hunab Ku since 
he is considered to be without form. His son is the 
iguana god, Itzam Na, and he may have become 
the Mayan counterpart of the Christian god. 

Hunapu 

Creator god. Mayan (Yucatec and Quiche, classi- 
cal Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. According to the 
sacred text Popol Vuh, the son of HUN HUNAPU 
and the twin brother of Ix Balan Ku. Tradition has 
it that, like his father, he was decapitated in a his- 
toric struggle with the underworld gods and sub- 
sequently became the sun god, while his sibling is 
the apotheosis of the moon. 

Hunaimic See Chaob. 

Hung Sheng (holy one) 
Guardian god. Chinese. A deity who protects 
fishing boats and their crews against danger at 
sea in the Southern Ocean. His role is similar to 
that of the goddess Kuan Yin. Little is known of 
the origin of Hung Sheng, but he was allegedly a 
mortal who died on the thirteenth day of the sec- 
ond moon, which falls two days before the spring 
equinox when the sea dragon king, Lung Wang, 
is believed to leave the ocean and ascend into the 



heavens. The god is propitiated with cakes made 

from the first grain of the year, on the fifth day of 
the fifth month and in some traditions he is seen 
as an aspect of the sea dragon king. 

Hunhau 

God of death. Mayan (Yucatec and Quiche, clas- 
sical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the sev- 
eral "lords of death" listed in the codices who rule 
the underworld, Mictlan. Hunhau is generally 
depicted with canine attributes, or with the head 
of an owl. 
See also Yum Cimil. Also God A. 

Hurabtil 

C5od of uncertain status. Elamite [Iran]. Known 
only from passing mention in Akkadian texts. Also 
Lahurabtil. 

Huracan 

Creator god. Mayan (Quiche, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Guatemalan highlands]. Having 
created the world, he fashioned the first humans 
from pieces of maize dough. The counterpart of 
the Yucatec HuNAB Ku. 

Huvi 

God of hunting. Ovimbundu [central Angola, 
West Africa]. All meat is kept in front of his 
shrines, which are decorated with poles capped by 
skulls. He is propitiated by dance and offerings, 
presided over by a priesthood. 

Hyakinthos 

God of vegetation. Greek. An ancient pre-Home- 
ric deity known particularly from Amyklai (pre- 
Dorian seat of kingship at Sparta). He is beloved by 



132 Hygieia 



Apollo who perversely kills him with a discus and 
changes him imo a flower. At Amyklai the bronze 
of ApoUo stands upon an altar-hke pedestal said to 
be the grave of Hyakinthos and, prior to sacrifice 
being made to Apollo, offerings to Hyakinthos 
were passed through a bronze door in the pedestal. 

Hygieia 

Goddess of health. Greek. The daughter of 
ASKLEPIOS, the physician god of heahng. Hygieia 
was also a remedial drink made from wheat, oil 
and honey. She is depicted as Hygieia-Salus in a 
marble group sculpture in the Vatican, with 
Asclepius (the Roman god of healing) and the 
snake, which she is touching. 

Hymenaios 

God of marriage. Greco-Roman. Member of the 
Olympian pantheon and attendant on Aphrodite 
(Venus). Depicted with wings and carrying a 
torch, and invoked at the wedding ceremony. 



Hyperion 

God of primordial Hght. Greek. A pre-Homeric 
deity, one of the race of Titans whose consort is, 
according to some texts, Thea and who is the 
father of Helios and Selene. 

Hypnos 

Gk)d of sleep. Greek. One of the sons of the god- 
dess of the night Nyx and the brother of 
Thanatos. 

Hypsistos 

Local tutelary god. Greco-Roman. Known from 
the region of the Bosphorus circa 150 BC until AD 
250. As late as the fourth century ad there are 
mentions in texts of hypsistarii in Cappadocia, who 
seem to have been unorthodox, Greek-speaking, 
Jewish fringe sectarians. The word hypsistos occurs 
in the Septuagint version of the Vetm Testamentum 
and means "almighty." 



lalonus 

God of meadows. Romano-Celtic (British and 
Continental European). Known from inscriptions 
at Lancaster (lalonus Contrebis) and Nimes. 

lapetos 

God. Greek. One of the sons of OURANOS 
(heaven) and a member of the TiTAN race which 
clashed with the Olympian gods. He is the father 
of the heroes Atlas and Prometheus. 

Icauna 

River goddess. Romano-Celtic (GalUc). Guardian 
deity of the river Yonne [Brittany]. 

Icci 

Animistic spirits. Siberian. 
See also Urun Ajy Toyon. 

Iccovellauna 

Water goddess. Celtic (Continental European). 
Known only from inscriptions. 

IDUNN 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic) and possibly Ger- 
manic. Keeper of the apples of immortaUty. 



KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Vildng period (circa 

AD 700) and earUer until Christianization (circa 

AD 1100). 
SYNONYMS Idun (German); Iduna. 
center(s) of cult none known. 
ART references none known, though possibly 

the subject of anonymous carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 

(Snorri). 

Little is recorded in mythology. Idunn is the con- 
sort of Bragi, the poet god, and she guards the 
golden apples of eternal youth for the gods of 
Asgard. She was abducted by LOKi and handed 
over to the giant Thiassi as payment for the build- 
ing of Valhalla. When the gods began to age, Loki 
assisted in recovering Idunn with her vital fruit. 
She reflects a northern version of the ancient 
symboUsm of a deity who guards the Hfe-sustain- 
ing fruit of heaven. 

Ifa 

God of wisdom. Yoruba [western Nigeria, West 
Africa] . An oracular deity who, according to tra- 
dition, lives in a sanctuary in the holy city of He 
Ife but who is called on by the tutelary god, 
Oldumare, for advice. He is the father of eight 
children, all of whom became paramount chiefs. 



133 



134 Ifru 



At one time he is said to have left the earth where- 
upon famine and plague descended. His wisdom 
is gained through the implements of divination, 
namely palm nuts. 

Ifru 

God. Roman-North African. A rare example in 
this region of a named deity. Known from an 
inscription at Cirta [Constantine, Algeria]. 

Igalilik 

Hunting spirit. Inuit [North American]. He trav- 
els the icy wastes with a kitchen strapped to his 
back which includes a pot big enough to carry a 
whole seal. It boils as he carries it. 

Igigi 

Collective name of a class of gods. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian and Babylonian- Akkadian). The group 
of younger sky gods in the pantheon headed by 

Enlil (Ellil). They are often described in the 
texts in conjunction with the Anunnaki. 

Ignerssuak (great fire) 

Sea god. Inuit [North American]. One of a 

group of generally benevolent deities. Numbers 

of Ignerssuak are thought to surround mariners 

and the entrance to their home is on the sea 

shore. 

IhP'en 

Chthonic fertility god. Mayan (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The deity concerned 
with the growth of plants, and consort of the bean 
goddess Ix Kanan. He is also god of family life, 
property and other wealth. The couple are 
invoked as a single personality with the sacrifice 



of turkeys and chickens at sowing time. Ih Fen 
may be represented sowing maize seed. 

Ihoiho 

Creator god. Polynesian [Society Islands]. Before 
Ihoiho there was nothing. He created the 
primeval waters on which floated TiNO Taata, 
the creator of mankind. 

Ihy 

God of music. Egjqitian (Upper). Minor deity 
personifying the jubilant noise of the cultic 
sistrum rattle generally associated with the 
goddess Hathor. The son of Hathor and 
HORUS. Particularly known from the Hathor 
sanctuary at Dendara. Depicted anthropomor- 
phically as a nude child with a side-lock of hair 
and with finger in mouth. May carry a sistrum 
and necklace. 

Ikal Ahau 

Chthonic god of death. Mayan (Tzotzil, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico] . Perceived as a diminu- 
tive figure who Uves in a cave by day but wanders 
at night attacking people and eating raw human 
flesh. He is also considered to inhabit Christian 
church towers in Mexico and is probably person- 
ified by vampire bats. 

Ikatere 

Fish god. Polynesian. The son of Punga and 
grandson of Tangaroa, the sea and creator god, 
he is revered in various regions of Polynesia as 
the progenitor of all life in the sea, especially 
fish. His brother is Tu-le-Wanawana, the deity 
responsible for the well-being of lizards, snakes 
and other reptiles. When fierce storms arose 
at the time of creation under the control of 



riena 135 



Tawhirimatea, the god of winds, mythology 
records that Tu-Te-Wanawana went inland to 
escape the devastation while Ikatere took to the 
safety of the sea. The incident became known as 
the schism of Tawhirimatea and has resulted in an 
eternal conflict between Tane(mahuta) the for- 
est god and Tangaroa, the sea god. 

Ikenga (right forearm) 

God of fortune. Ibo [Nigeria, West Africa]. A 
benevolent deity who guides the hands of 
mankind. He is depicted wearing a horned head- 
dress, and carrying a sword and a severed head. 
He is invoked as a household guardian. 

Iksvaku 

Creator god. Hindu (Vedic). One of the ancestral 
dynasty of sun gods or Aditi. 

Iku-Ikasuchi-No-Kami 

God of thunder. Shinto [Japan]. The most signif- 
icant of the eight thunder deities which emerged 
from the corpse of IZANAMI after she was burned 
to death. 

IL 

ORIGIN Canaanite [northern Israel, Lebanon and 
Syrian coastal regions]. Creator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2000 BC, and 
probably earUer, until circa 200 BC or later. 

SYNONYMS El (Hebrew); Latipan; Tor-'Il. 

center(s) of cult Ugarit (Ras Samra), but also 
generally throughout areas of Canaanite influ- 
ence. 

ART REFERENCES possibly a Hmited number of 

seals and stone reliefs. 
LITERARY SOLTRCES Ugaritic texts from Ras 

Samra. 



II is the model on which the northern Israelite 

god. El, may have been based. The supreme 
authority, morally and creatively, overseeing the 
assembly of gods. The god to whom BaaL is ulti- 
mately answerable. According to legend he Uves 
in royal surroundings in a remote place lying at 
the confluence of two rivers. A stele found at Ras 
Samra has a seated god with bull horns which 
may depict II or Baal. 

Da 

Alinor god(dess) of sacrifices. Hindu (Vedic). She 
is invoked to appear on the sacrificial field before 
a ritual. Usually associated with the goddess Saras- 
VATi, Ila is linked with the sacred cow and her epi- 
thets include "butter-handed" and "butter-footed." 

Ilaalge 

Local god. Western Semitic (Nabataean). Wor- 
shiped at Al-Ge [el-Gi in Wadi Musa, in the Ara- 
bian desert]. 

Ilabrat 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akka- 
dian). The attendant and minister of state of the 
chief sky god Anu. 

nat 

Rain god. Pokot and Suk [Uganda and western 
Kenya, East Africa]. The son of the creator god 
TORORUT. According to legend, when his father 
calls on him to fetch water Hat always spills some, 
which descends to earth as rain. 

I'lena (rain woman) 

Animistic spirit. Koryak [Siberia]. The consort of 
the creator spirit "universe" or Tenanto'mwan. 



1 36 nmarinen 



Ilmarinen 

Sky god. Pre-Christian Finnish. A weather god 
who places the stars in the sky. Also a guardian 
deity of travelers and a smith-god who educated 
man in the use of iron and forging. 

Dyapa 

Weather god. Inca (pre-Columbian South Amer- 
ica) [Peru, etc]. Also perceived as a thimder god, he 
became syncretized with Santiago, the patron saint 
of Spain. The Indians called Spanish firearms 
Hyapa. Also Inti-Dyapa; Coqi-Hya; Illapa; Katoylla. 

Im 

Storm god. Mesopotamian. The cuneiform gen- 
erally taken to refer to a storm god and therefore 
probably meaning either ISKUR (Sumerian) or 
Adad (Akkadian). 

Imana 

Creator god. Burundi [East Africa]. He engen- 
dered the first man, Kihanga, who descended 
from heaven on a rope. Symbolized by a lamb or 
a young ram, he is also thought to speak through 
the roar of the bull. 

Imiut 

Minor chthonic god. Egyptian. One of the atten- 
dant deities of the necropohs, he is linked with 
Anubis, and in pre-dynastic times was repre- 
sented by a skin hung on a pole. 

Iminap Ukua 

Sea goddess. Inuit [eastern Greenland]. The 
mother of all sea creatures and invoked by fisher- 
men and seal-hunters. 
See also Sedna. 



Inrniat 

Demonic god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. A deity to 
whom sacrifices were addressed in the Ashkun 
villages of southwestern Kafiristan. Legend has it 
that Immat carries off twenty virgin daughters 

every year. A festival includes blood sacrifice and 
dances by twenty carefully selected young priest- 
esses. 

Imporcitor 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. The deity con- 
cerned with harrowing the fields. 

IMRA 

ORIGIN Kafir [Afghanistan — southern Hin- 

dukush]. Creator god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP unknown origins 

and continuing locally today. 
SYNONYMS Mara (Prasun region). 
center(s) of cult chiefly at Kushteki. 
ART references large wooden sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES Robertson G.S. The Kafm of 

the Hindukush {1 896); Morgenstierne G. Some 

Rati Myths and Hymns {1951). 

Supreme Kafir creator god who generated all 
other deities by churning his breath to life inside 
a golden goatskin. Other legendary sources have 
him taking his paramotmt position through guile 
from among an existing pantheon and possibly 
superseding an earlier creator god, Munjem 
Malik. His mother was said to be a giantess with 
four tusks. Imra is a sky god who lives among 
cloud and mist and who is responsible, at least in 
part, for cosmic creation. He positioned the sun 
and moon in the heavens. He is the ancestor of all 
Prasun tribal chiefs. His sacred animal is the ram 
which was sacrificed regularly, as was the cow and, 
less frequently, the horse. Figures of the god are 
crudely anthropomorphic. The main sanctuary 



EVANA 137 



to Imra, at a small town called Kushteki, was 
destroyed in the early 1900s, but was an imposing 
and ornately carved wooden structure. Other 
smaller shrines survive, scattered throughout the 
region. 

Imra is generally perceived as a beneficent 
teacher who has endowed mankind with various 
gifts including cattle, dogs, wheat, the wheel and 
the element iron. He also has a destructive side to 
his nature, causing floods and other havoc. 

Ina'hitelan 

Guardian spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
The father of cloud man Ya'halan, he is per- 
ceived as a supervisor of the skies and reindeer are 
sacrificed to him. 

INANA (queen of heaven) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. God- 
dess of fertiUty and war. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 3500 BC to 
1750 BC. 

SYNONYMS Inninna; ISTAR [Akkadian]; Nin-me- 

sar-ra (lady of a myriad offices) 
center(s) OF CULT Unug [Warka]; also Erbil 

and Nineveh. 
ART REFERENCES plaques, reHefs, votive stelae, 

glyptics, etc. 
LITERARY SOLUCES Cuneiform texts, particularly 

the Gilgames Epic and Inanah Descent and the 

Death ofDumuzi; temple hymns, etc. 

The paramount goddess of the Sumerian pan- 
theon. Though not technically a "mother god- 
dess," she constitutes the first in a long Une of 
historically recorded female deities concerned 
with the fertility of the natural world. Inana is 
also a warrior goddess. She is the daughter of the 
moon god Nanna and sister of Utu and ISKUR. 
In alternative tradition, she is the daughter of An. 



Her attendant is the minor goddess NlNSUBUR, 
and her champion is the mythical hero Gilgames. 
Of her many consorts, the most significant is the 
vegetation god DUMUZI. She becomes the hand- 
maiden of An, the god of heaven. She is also iden- 
tified as the younger sister of the underworld 
goddess Ereskigal. She is the tutelary deity of 
the southern Mesopotamian city of Unug (Uruk), 
where her sanctuary is the Eanna temple. 

Inana is usually depicted wearing a horned 
headdress and tiered skirt, with wings and with 
weapon cases at her shoulders. Her earUest sym- 
bol is a bundle of reeds tied in three places and 
with streamers. Later, in the Sargonic period, her 
symbol changes to a star or a rose. She may be 
associated with a lion or lion cub and is often 
depicted standing atop a mountain. She may be 
embodied in the sacred tree of Mesopotamia, 
which evolved into a styUzed totem made of wood 
and decorated with precious stones and bands of 
metal. 

Originally Inana may have been goddess of the 
date palm, as Dumuzi was god of the date harvest. 

Her role then extended to wool, meat and grain 
and ultimately to the whole of the natural world. 
She was also perceived as a rain goddess and as the 
goddess of the morning and evening stars. She 
was worshiped at dawn with offerings, and in the 
evening she became the patroness of temple pros- 
titutes when the evening star was seen as a harlot 
soliciting in the night skies. In less commonly 
encountered roles she is goddess of lighting and 
extinguishing fires, of tears and rejoicing, of 
enmity and fair deahng and many other, usually 
conflicting, principles. 

According to legend, Enki, who lives in the 
watery abyss or Abzu beneath the city of Eridu, 
was persuaded while drunk, and through Inana's 
subterfuge, to endow her with more than a hun- 
dred divine decrees, which she took back to Unug 
in her reed boat and which formed the basis of the 
Sumerian cultural constitution. 



138 Inara 



Inana is one of three deities involved in the pri- 
mordial battle between good and evil, the latter 
personified by the dragon Kur. She is further 
engaged in a yearly conflict, also involving her 
consort Dumuzi, with Eresldgal. She descends to 
the underworld to challenge Ereskigal and finds 
herself stripped naked and tried before the seven 
underworld judges, the Anunnaki. She is sen- 
tenced and left for dead for three days and nights 
before being restored at the behest of Enki, the 
god of wisdom, who creates two beings, Kur-gar- 
ra and Gala-tur-ra, to secure her release and to 
revive her by sprinkUng her with the food and 
water of hfe. 

Inara 

Minor goddess. Hittite and Hurrian. Daughter of 
the weather god Tesub. In the legendary battie 
with the dragon Illuyankas she assists her father to 
triumph over evil. 

Inari (rice-grower) 

God(dess) of foodstuffs. Shinto [Japan]. The pop- 
ular name of a god(dess) worshiped under the 
generic title Miketsu-No-Kami in the Shi-Den 
sanctuary of the imperial palace, but rarely else- 
where. The deity displays gender changes, devel- 
ops many personaUties and is revered extensively 
in Japan. Inari is often depicted as a bearded man 
riding a white fox but, in pictures sold at temple 
offices, (s)he is generally shown as a woman with 
long flowing hair, carrying sheafs of rice and 
sometimes, again, riding the white fox. Inari sanc- 
tuaries are painted bright red, unhke most other 
Shinto temples. They are fiirther characterized by 
rows of wooden portals which form tunnels lead- 
ing to the sanctuary. Sculptures of foxes are pro- 
Ufic (an animal endowed, in Japanese tradition, 
with supernatural powers) and the shrines are 
decorated with a special device, the Hoju-No- 



lama, in the shape of a pear surrounded by small 
flames. Often identified with the food goddess 
Toyo-Uke-Bime. 



Inazuma 

Goddess of lightning. Shinto Japan]. The so- 
called consort of the rice. In certain regions when 
lightning hits a rice field bamboos are erected 
arotmd the spot to signify that it has been sancti- 
fied by the fire of heaven. Also Ina-Bikari (hght of 
rice) and Ina-Tsurubi (fertiUty of rice). 

Indr 

Tutelary and weather god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. 
The brother of GiSH and father of Disani and 
Pano. Probably derived from the more widely 
recognized Aryan god INDRA, Indr is known 
chiefly from the Waigal and Prastm areas of the 
southern Hindukush. It is generally assumed that 
he was ousted from major importance by the god 
Imra. Indr is also a god of wine who owns sub- 
stantial vineyards and is associated in south 
Nuristan with wine rituals (the annals of Alexan- 
der the Great suggest that he met with wine- 
drinking "worshipers of DiONYSOS" in the 
Hindukush). 

In the Ashkun region of southwestern Kafiris- 
tan, a famous vineyard near the village of Wamais 
is sacred to Indr. Also Inder. 

INDRA (possibly meaning ^^mighty^') 

ORIGIN Hindu [India]. Weather god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1500 BC and 

possibly earlier until present day. 
SYNONYMS none. 
center(s) of cult none. 
ART references sculptures in metal and stone; 

reUefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda and other texts. 



Intercidona 1 39 



One of the most important of the Vedic deities. It 
is uncertain if he originated as a weather god or as 
a solar deity. The Rg Veda identifies him with the 
bull and he is considered to be related to the Hit- 
tite weather god Tesub. He is thus also god of 
fertilit)^ and war. In the later Vedas he is described 
as the son of Dyaus Pitar and Prthivi. His con- 
sort is Indrani and his sons are JAYANTA, Mid- 
husa, Nilambara, Rbhus and Rsabha. 

In later Hinduism he is a dikpala (guardian) of 
the eastern direction. 

2. In Buddhism Indra is a dikpala with the color 
yellow, but of lesser importance than the Hindu 
god. 

3. In Jainism Indra is a head of various heavens 
but, again, of lesser importance. 

Indrani 

Goddess of wrath. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). 
Daughter of Puloman, a demonic figure killed by 
the god Indra, and the Sakh and consort of Indra. 
One of seven Mataras (mothers) who in later 
Hinduism became regarded as of evil intent. Also 
one of a group of eight Astamataras personifying 
jealousy (also named Aindri in this capacity). In 
another grouping one of nine Navasaktis or astral 
deities who, in southern India, rank higher than the 
Saptamataras. Her attendant animal is either an 
elephant or a Hon. Attributes: hook, rosary, Santana 
flower, staff and waterjar. One thousand-eyed. Also 
Aindri; Mahendri; Paulomi; Saci; Sujata. 

Indukari 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Consort of 
the god Samba. Attribute: a shield. 

Ing 

Ancestral god. Anglo-Saxon. According to a runic 
poem he is the father of the Saxons and appeared 



from across the sea and then disappeared, never 
to return. He may also be classed as one of the 
Nordic Aesir gods. 

Inkanyamba 

Storm god. Zulu [southern Africa]. The deity 
specifically responsible for tornados and per- 
ceived as a huge snake coiUng down from heaven 
to earth. According to some Zulu authorities, 
Inkanyamba is a goddess of storms and water. 

Inmar 

Sky god(dess). Votyak (Finno-Ugric). The name 
became incorporated into Christian tradition and 
interpreted as "the mother of God." 

Inmutef (pillar of his mother) 
Alinor god. Egyptian. The "bearer of the heav- 
ens," his cult is linked with that of the goddess 
Hathor. 



Insitor 

Alinor god of agriculture. Roman. The deity con- 
cerned with sowing of crops. 

Intal (gods their father) 

God of fire. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Associated with paternalism and 
one of the group classed as the Xiuhtecuhtli 
complex. 

Intercidona 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. A guardian deity 
invoked to keep evil spirits away fi-om the new- 
born child. Symbolized by a cleaver. 



140 Inti 



Inti (sun) 

Sun god. Inca (pre-Columbian South America) 
[Peru, etc]. His consort is the moon goddess 
Mama-Kilya. Inti was depicted as a trinity in the 
sanctuaries in Cuzco, possibly in deference to the 
Christian Trinity. The Temple of the Sun is 
reported to have housed images, in gold, of all the 
sky gods in the Inca pantheon on more or less 
equal terms, since the sun is regarded as one of 
many great celestial powers. Inti may also have 
been depicted as a face on a gold disc. The so- 
called "fields of the sun" supported the Inca 
priesthood. The three sun deities are Apo-Inti 
(lord sun), Cori-Inti (son sun) and Inti-Wawqi 
(sun brother). The sun god(s) is perceived as the 
progenitor of the Inca rulers at Cuzco through 
two children — a son Manco Capac and his sis- 
ter/consort Mama Ocllo Huaco. The Quechua 
Indians of the central Andes call the same deity 
Inti Huayna Capac and perceive him as part of a 
trinity with the Christian god and Christ. 

lo See KiHO. 

lord 

Earth goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). In Viking tra- 
dition lord embodies the abstract sacredness of the 
earth. Said to be the mother of Thor and in some 
legends, the wife of Othin. 
See also FjORGYN. 

Ipalnemoatii (he who through one lives) 
Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the Ome- 
TEOTL complex. 

Ipy 

Mother goddess. Egyptian. In the Pyramid Texts 
Ipy appears occasionally as a benevolent guardian 



and wet nurse to the king. She is also perceived to 
exert a benign influence on amulets. Depicted as 
a hippopotamus or anthropomorphically with a 
hippo's head. Also Ipet. 

Iris (rainbow) 

Messenger goddess. Greek and Roman. The spe- 
cial attendant of the goddess Her.\, Iris is a virgin 
goddess who forms the rainbow bridge between 
heaven and earth. Depicted with wings and car- 
rying a staff. 

Irmin 

War god. Germanic. Probably equating with 
TlWAZ, the name implies one of great strength. In 
Saxony, there is the so-called Irmin pillar which 
may be a reference to the deity. 

Iruva 

Sun god. African. A number of tribes worship the 
sun by this generic name, particularly in 
Cameroon, Congo and Tanzania. 

Isa (1) 

1 . An aspect of SiVA. Hindu (Puranic). Also a dik- 
pala or guardian of the northeastern quarter; and 
an Ekadasarudra (one of the eleven rudras). 
Rides upon a goat or a bull. Color: white. Attrib- 
utes: five arrows, ax, drum, fruit, hatchet, hook, 
lute, noose, rosary, staff. Three-eyed. 

2. Guardian deity. Buddhist. A minor dikpala 
attended by a bull. Color: white. Attributes: cup, 
moon disc and trident. 

Isa (2) 

River goddess. Songhai [Niger, West Africa]. The 
mother goddess of the river Niger. 



ISIS 141 



Isara 

Goddess of marriage and childbirth. Meso- 
potamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) and west- 
ern Semitic. Also a deity concerned with the 
enforcing of oaths. Known chiefly from early 
inscriptions and some Akkadian texts. Her 
Mesopotamian cult center was the Babylonian 
town of Kisurra, but she is also thought to have 
been worshiped across a wide area among Syrians, 
Canaanites and Hittites. Her symbol is the scor- 
pion. Also Esara. 

Isdes 

Chthonic god of death. Egyptian. Known from 
the Middle Kingdom onward he is one of the 
minor deities concerned with the judgment of the 
dead. He became syncretized with Anubis. 

Ishi-Kori-Dome 

God(dess) of stone cutters. Shinto [Japan]. Of 
ambiguous gender, this deity created the stone 

mold into which the bronze was cast to 
make the perfect divine mirror. It was used so 
that Amaterasu, the sun goddess, could see her 
glorious reflection and so be enticed from the 
dark cave where she had hidden herself to 
escape the excesses of the god Susano-WO. 
Ishi-Kori-Dome is also the tutelary deity of 
mirror makers and was one of the escorts for 
Prince NiNiGi when he descended from heaven 
to earth. Generally invoked beside fire and 
smith KAMIS. 

Isimud 

Messenger god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Readily identified by possessing two faces look- 
ing in opposite directions, Isimud is the mes- 
senger of the god Enki. Also Isinu; Usumu 
(Akkadian). 



ISIS 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Early dynastic 
period (circa 2700 BC) and probably earlier until 
the end of Egyptian history (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult universal throughout areas 
of Egyptian influence, but particularly at Giza 
and at Behbeit el-Hagar in the Nile delta. Also 
at Thebes on the west bank, at Dendara and in 
the temple of Seti I at Abydos. A GrecoRoman 
sanctuary existed on Philae (now moved to 
Agilqiya). 

ART REFERENCES monumental carving; contem- 
porary sculptures; wall paintings and reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts; the Great 
Hymn to his from the stele of Amenemose 
(Louvre); etc. 

Isis is one of the great deities of the Egyptian 
pantheon and, with Osiris, probably maintained 
the most universal appeal outside Egypt Greco- 
Roman culture was particularly enamored of her 
and called her the Stella Maris (star of the sea), 
represented in the heavens by the north star. An 
offspring of Geb and NUT in the Heliopolis 
genealogy, Isis is the mother of the god kings of 
Egypt and both elder sister and consort of Osiris. 
The other sibhngs include Seth and Nephthys. 
Isis is depicted in human form, but usually wear- 
ing a crown in the form of a throne or cow horns 
encircling a sun disc (see Hathor). She may also 
be depicted, wholly or in part, as a hawk. From 
the New Kingdom (circa 1 500 BC) onward she is 
also associated with a device not dissimilar to the 
ankh symbol and known as the "Isis knot." The 
symbol was incorporated into a bloodstone 
amulet known as the tyet. 

In legend she is responsible twice for restoring 
Osiris, once after Seth has thrown his body into 
the Nile and again after Seth has dismembered it. 
She impregnates herself from his corpse as he is 



142 ISKUR 



entering the underworld as its ruler, and from 
Osiris's semen conceives HORUS, to whom she 
gives birth in the papyrus swamps at Khemmis in 
the Nile delta. Thus, since Horus instilled himself 
into the king of Egypt during life, and Osiris took 
over on death (see also Horus and Osiris), the 
ruler was perceived to suckle at the breast of Isis 
(as Harpokrates). As Isis guarded Horus against 
injury, so she also protected the earthly king of 
Egypt as a child. In the courts of the gods, Isis put 
up a strong challenge in support of Horus 's claim 
to the throne against that of her brother Seth, 
and she showed Seth to be guilty of buggery 
against Horus. 

In the Greco-Roman period, Isis sanctuaries 
were built on the island of Dclos and at Pompeii. 
There is much argument that the Isis cult influ- 
enced the portrayal of the Christian Virgin Mary, 
who was also known as Stella Maris and whose 
portraits with the Christ often bear a striking sim- 
ilarity to those of Isis with Horus. 

ISKUR 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. Storm 
god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3500 BC, and 
probably earlier, until circa 1750 BC. 

SYNONYMS Ad AD (Akkadian). 

center(s) of cult Karkara. 

ART REFERENCES plaques: votive stelae; glyptics, 
etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Cuneiform texts. 

The chief rain and thunder god of herdsmen, 
Iskur is described as the brother of the sun god 
Utu. In creation mythology Iskur is given charge 
over the winds, the so-called "silver lock of the 
heart of heaven," by the god Enki. According to 
some authors, in prehistoric times he was per- 
ceived as a bull or as a Hon whose roar is the thun- 
der. He may be depicted as a warrior riding across 



the skies in a chariot, dispensing raindrops and 
hailstones. In one text he is identified as the son 
of An and twin brother of Enki. He is to be com- 
pared with NiNURTA who was primarily a god of 
farmers. He was also adopted by the Hittites as a 
storm god. 

Issaki 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Depicted 
carrying a headless child. Also Kerala. 

Istadevata 

1. Generic title of a personal god. Hindu. The 
name given to a deity chosen by an individual for 
special worship in return for protection and spir- 
itual guidance. Also the name given to a house- 
hold icon. 

2. Tutelary god. Buddhist, particularly in Tibet. 
The personal deity of one preparing for Tantric 
initiation. 

Istanu 

Sun god. Hittite. A god of judgment, depicted 
bearing a winged sun on his crown or headdress, 
and a crooked staff. 

ISTA.R (star of heaven) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) 
[Iraq]. Goddess of fertiUty and war. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2500 BC until 
circa AD 200. 

SYNONYMS Inana [Sumerian]. 

center(s) OF CULT throughout Mesopotamia 
particularly at Babylon and Nineveh, with 
smaller sanctuaries across a more extensive area 
of the ancient world including Mari. 

ART REFERENCES votive inscriptions; cylinder 
seals and seal impressions; limestone reUefs, etc. 



ITZAMNA 143 



LITERARY SOURCES cuneiform texts including 
The Descent oflstar, Gilgames and Etana; temple 
hymns. 

Istar is probably the most significant and influen- 
tial of all ancient Near Eastern goddesses. She is 
the counterpart of, and largely takes over from, 
the Sumerian Inana. She is the daughter, in sep- 
arate traditions, of the moon god SiN and of the 
god of heaven Anu. She is generally depicted with 
wings and with weapon cases at her shoulders. 
She may carry a ceremonial double-headed mace- 
scimitar embellished with lion heads and is fre- 
quently accompanied by a hon. She is symbohzed 
by an eight-pointed star. 

In Eg\'pt she was revered as a goddess of heal- 
ing. There is evidence from the el-Amarna letters 
that Amenhotep III, who apparently suffered 
from severe tooth abscesses, was loaned a statue 
of Istar from Nineveh in the hopes that its cura- 
tive powers might help his suffering. 

Istaran 

Local god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). The tute- 
lary god of the city of Der, east of the river Tigris 
in northern Babylonia. Also GUSILIM. 

Isten 

Creator god. Pre-Christian Hungarian. Accord- 
ing to tradition, his sacred animal, the eagle, 
guided the Hungarian people to their homeland. 
Other attributes include arrow, horse phallus and 
tree. 

Isum 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). The brother of Samas, the sun god, 
and an attendant of the plague god Erra. He may 
have been a god of fire and, according to texts, led 



the gods in war as a herald but was nonetheless 
generally regarded as benevolent. Known partic- 
ularly from the Babylonian legend of Erra and 
Bum. Also Endursaga. 

Isvara 

Epithet of the god SiVA. Hindu (Puranic). In San- 
skrit designated the "supreme god who rules the 
tmiverse." The generic title of a Hindu's personal 
high god. In Buddhism the name of a yaksa 
attending the eleventh tirthankara. 

Itonde 

God of death. Mongo and Nkundo [central 
Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa]. He 
consumes rats as food and is also the god of 
hunters in the dark jungle forests. Described in 
the Epic of Lianja as the first man to die whose 
spirit reincarnated at the instant of death, into 
his son Lianja. He possesses a bell with magi- 
cal properties, the elefo, by which he predicts 
where death will strike. 

Itzam Cab 

Chthonic earth god. Mayan (classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. The earth aspect of the creator 
god Itzam Na. He is also a god of fire, and 
hearthstones are called "head of Itzam Cab." 
Sticks of firewood are his thighs, flames his 
tongue and the pot resting on the fire his Uver. In 
his vegetation aspect he is depicted with leaves of 
maize sprouting from his head. 

ITZAM NA (iguana house) 

ORIGIN Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. Creator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 300 untU 
circa AD 900. 



1 44 Itzcuintii 



SYNONYMS HUNAB Ku; Hun Itzamna; Yaxcocah- 
mut; God K. 

center(s) of cult Chichen Itza and other sites, 
mainly in the Yucatan peninsula. 

ART REFERENCES stone Carvings, codex illustra- 
tions. 

LITERARY SOURCES mainly the Vienna Codex. 

The principal god in the Mayan pantheon 
according to the Vienna codex. He lives in the sky 
and sends the rain. Also a god of medicine and a 
fire god. By tradition the Maya believed that the 
world wzs set within a vast house, the walls and 
roof of which were formed by four huge iguanas 
standing upright but with their heads bent down- 
wards. Each reptile has its own direction and 
color. 

Itzam Na is not invoked in the rites of modern 
Yucatan peasants but, at one time, was the subject 
of a ritual which involved daubing the lowest step 
of a sanctuary with mud and the other steps with 
blue pigment (the color peculiar to rain gods). At 
Chichen Itza sacrifice was regularly made to a 
huge crocodile beUeved to be the personification 
of the god. 

Itzam Na is probably the same deity as Hunab 
Ku, who is identified in some texts as his father, 
but in the guise of a reptile. He may also be 
depicted anthropomorphically. In his aspect as a 
vegetation god, Itzam Na may be the same as the 
so-called God K of the codices, recognized by a 
long branching nose in the form of a pair of 
infolded leaves. His earthly aspect is called ITZAM 
Cab, in which guise maize leaves sprout from the 
top of his head. 

Itzcuintii 

Goddess of hearths. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. A guardian deity of the home per- 
sonified by fire. One of the group classed as the 
XlXJHTECUHTLl complex. 



Itzpapalotl (obsidian butterfly) 
Minor mother goddess. Aztec (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as 
the Teteoinnan complex. Also recognized as a 
fire goddess. 

Itzpapalotl- Itzcueye (possessor of obsidian 
skirt) 

Minor mother goddess. Aztec (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as 
the Teteoinnan complex. Limited to the Valley 
of Mexico. 

Itztapal Totec (our lord the stone slab) 
Fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. A god of agriculture but also a patron of 
precious metallurgists. One of the group classed 
as the XiPE TOTEC complex. 

Itztli (obsidian blade) 

God of justice. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the Tez- 
CATLIPOCA complex. 

lunones 

Goddesses of femininity. Greco-Roman. Gener- 
ally depicted as a trio of matres. A shrine at 
Saintes Maries on the Rhone delta was originally 
dedicated to the lunones Augustae. 

lusaas 

Creator goddess. Egyptian (Lower). Locally 
known from HeliopoHs and perceived as being a 
feminine principle in the cosmos equating to the 
sun god Atum. Depicted anthropomorphically 
with a scarab on her head. 



Ixdilton 1 45 



lutuma 

Goddess of springs and wells. Roman. Invoked 
particularly in times of drought. 

Ix Chebel Yax 

Mother goddess. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Goddess of weaving and patroness of 
weavers, whose tutelage is shared with Ix Chel. 
See also Chibirias. 

IxChel 

Moon goddess. Mayan (Yucatec and Quiche, 
classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Also the 
goddess of childbirth and medicine and of rain- 
bows. A consort of the sun god. She has a major 
shrine as Cozumel and small figurines of the 
goddess have been conventionally placed 
beneath the beds of women in labor. Such 
women are considered to be in great danger at 
times of lunar eclipse when the unborn child 
may develop deformities. Ix Chel is a guardian 
against disease and the Quiche Indians regard 
her as a goddess of fertility and sexual inter- 
course. 

A goddess of weaving, believed to be the first 
being on earth to weave cloth, she was employed 
in this craft when she first attracted the attention 
of the sun god. She carries her loom sticks across 
the sky to protect her from jaguars. Under Chris- 
tian influence she has been largely syncretized 
with the Virgin Mary. Also Goddess 1. 

See also Ix Chebel Yax. 

Ix Kanan 

Vegetation goddess. Mayan (classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. The guardian of the bean plant. 
Her consort is the maize god IH P'en. The cou- 
ple are invoked at sowing time when turkeys and 
chickens are sacrificed. 



Ix Zacal Nok (lady cloth-weaver) 
Creator goddess. Mayan (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico] . The consort of the sun god Kinich 
Ahau and also the inventor of weaving. She may 
represent another aspect of the mother goddess 
COLEL Cab. Also Ix Azal Uoh; Ixchel. 
See also Ah Kin. 

Ixcozauhqui (yellow face in the house) 
God of fire. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. Associated with paternalism and one of the 
group classed as the XlUHTECUHTLl complex. 

Ixnextli (eye-lashes) 

Groddess of weavers. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of the group classed as the 
Teteoinnan complex. 

Ixpuztec (broken face) 

Minor underworld god. Aztec (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as 
the Micdantecuhdi complex. 

Ixquimilli-Itzlacoliuhqm (eye-bundle 

curved obsidian blade) 
God of justice. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the Tez- 
catlipoca complex. 

Ixtab 

Goddess. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. Tutelary goddess of suicide victims. 

Ixdilton (little blackface) 
Minor god of sexual lust. Aztec (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as 
the XlUHTECUHTLl complex. 



I 46 Izanagi-No-Kami 



Izanagi-No-Kami (his augustness the me 
who invites) 

Creator god. Shinto [Japan]. One of seventeen 
beings involved in creation. His consort is 
Izanami-No-Kami. They are strictly of Japanese 

origin with no Chinese or Buddhist influence. 
Jointly they are responsible to the other fifteen 
primordial deities to "make, consolidate and give 
birth to this drifting land." The reference, in the 
Kojiki sacred text, is to the reed beds which were 
considered to float on the primal waters. The pair 
were granted a heavenly jeweled spear and they 
stood upon the floating bridge of heaven, stirring 
the waters with the spear. When the spear was 
pulled up, the brine which dripped fi-om it created 
the island of Onogoro, the first dry land, beheved 
to be the island of Nu-Shima on the southern 
coast of Awagi. According to mythology, the pair 
created two beings, a son HiRUKO and an island 
Ahaji. They generated the remaining fourteen 
islands which make up Japan and then set about 
creating the rest of the KAMI pantheon. Izanagi's 



most significant offspring include Amaterasu, 
the sun goddess, born from his nose and SuSANO- 
Wo, the storm god, born from his left eye, who 
are the joint rulers of the universe. Also Izanagi- 
No-Mikoto. 

Izanami-No-Kami (her augustness the one 
who invites) 

Creator goddess. Shinto [Japan]. See IZANAGI- 
No-Kami for full details. Izanami was burned to 
death by the birth of the fire god Hi-No-Kagu- 
Tsuciii, after which the eight thunders sprang 
from her corpse. Also Izanami-No-Mikoto. 

Izquitecatl 

Fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the Ome- 
tochtli complex personifying the maguey or agave 
plant from which a potent drink called pulque is 
brewed. 



J 



Jabru 

Sky god. Elamite [Iran]. Local deity largely 
eclipsed by An. 

JAGANNATH (hrd of the world) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Puranic) [India] . Transmutation 

of the essence of the god Visnu. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400 and 

probably earlier until present day. 
SYNONYMS Jaggernaut. 

center(s) of cult Bengal and Puri (Orissa). 
ART REFERENCES bronze sculptures. Well-known 

wooden image at Puri. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana epic; Puranic 

texts. 

Jagannath occupies an obscure position. His 
sister is SuBHADRA and his brother Balabhadra. 
He is depicted in hideous fashion as a monster 
with an enormous head and bulging eyes, but 
with no legs and only the stumps of arms. 
According to legend, when ViSNU was acci- 
dently slain by a hunter, his bones were placed 
in a box and ViSVAKARMA, the Hindu god of 
artisans, was commissioned to create a new 
body to cover the bones. His agreement was 
conditional on no one seeing the work until it 
was finished. Krsna's curiosity got the better of 



him and the resultant half-finished freak was 
Jagannath. 

In an unusual departure from normal ritual 
practice, the image of Jagannath is removed from 
his sanctuary at Puri for a week each year and 
aired in pubUc view. Two festivals, the Rathayatra 
and Snanayatra, are dedicated to Jagannath and 
his siblings. 

Jagaubis 

Fire god. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. Largely 
echpsed by Gabija. 

Jahwe See Yhwh. 

Jakomba 

God of moraUty. Bangala [Democratic Republic 
of Congo, central Africa]. Also known as the god 
of hearts, he controls human thought. Also Nza- 
komba. 

Jalinprabha (light of the sun) 
God. Buddhist. A BODHISATTVA or buddha- 
designate. Color: red. Attributes: staff, sun disc 
and sword. Also Suryaprabha. 



147 



1 48 Jambhala 



Jambhala (devouring) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava or Vajrasattva, or a 
collective emanation of the five Dhyanibud- 
DHAS, he is the equal of the Hindu god KUBERA. 
His Sakti is Vasudhara and he may stand upon 
a man or a conch. Color: blue or white. Attrib- 
utes: arrow, bow, cup, hook. Ichneumon fly, 
image of Aksobhya in the hair, jewel, noose, 
other jewels, staff, sword and trident. Three- 
headed, each head representing one of the three 
named Dhyanibuddhas. 

Janguli (knowledge of poisons) 
Snake goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Prevents 
and cures snake bite. An emanation of Aksobhya. 
Also one of a group of Dharanis (deification of 
Buddhist texts). Accompanied by a snake or other 
unidentified creature. Color: green, white or 
yellow. Attributes: arrow, blue lotus, bow, image of 
Aksobhya on crown, lute, peacock feather, snake, 
staff, sword and trident. One- or three-headed. 

JANUS 

ORIGIN Roman. God of passage. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 
circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS lanus. 

center(s) of cult many sanctuaries through- 
out Italy, including the celebrated Janus 
Quadrifons temple (not extant). 

ART references sculptures and relief carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES ^OTg^V/ (Virgil). 

Janus is generally known as the "god with two 
faces" and is the deity responsible for gates, door- 
ways and of all beginnings. He is also specifically 
a benign intercessor in times of war. He has no 
Greek counterpart but is the god of past, present 
and future. According to legend the son of 



Apollo, born in Thessaly, he founded the city of 
Janiculum on the Tiber. 

Janus is depicted with two faces turned in oppo- 
site directions, symbolizing his dominance over 
past and future. He holds a key in his right hand 
and a staff in his left when invoked as guardian of 
a gate or roadway; alternatively he holds the num- 
bers 300 and 65 when presiding over the start of 
a new year. He is also equated with the rising and 
setting of the stm. Each new season, and the dawn 
of each day was sacred to Janus. He was particu- 
larly celebrated at New Year and the month name 
January is derivative. The Janus Quadrifons tem- 
ple was reputedly a perfectly symmetrical square, 
each side possessing one door representing each 
of the four seasons, and three windows collec- 
tively comprising the twelve months of the year. 

Jarri 

Plague god. Hittite and Hurrian. Also war god 
known as the "lord of the bow" who protected the 
king in battle. 

Jayakara (victorious) 

God. Buddhist. Probably of Hindu derivation, he 
rides in a carriage drawn by cockatoos. Color: 
white. Attributes: arrow, bow, garland and wine 
glass. 

Jayanta (victorious) 

God. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). One of the sons 
of Indra, and one of the eleven Ekadasarudras 
or forms of the god RuDRA. Attributes: arrow, ax, 
bow, club, cup, drum, hammer, hook, prayer 
wheel, rosary, spear, trident and waterjar. 

Jayatara (victorious Tara) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). 



Junrojin 1 49 



Jaya-Vijaya (victorious) 

Twin goddesses. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 

Possibly forms of DuRGA accompanied by a 

lion. 

Jehovah 

Creator god. Christian. The name came into 

usage from circa AD 1200 and is an adulteration 
which has largely replaced the title Yhwh in the 
English-speaking churches. 
See also Yhwh. 

Jnanadaktni (knowledge) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 

Aksobhya and the Sakti of yogambara. Color: 

blue. Attributes: ax, bell, club, cup, staff and 

sword. 

Jnanaparamita (perfection of knowledge) 
Philosophical deity. Buddhist. Spiritual offspring 
of Ratnasambhava. Color: white. Attributes: the 
tree of wisdom and a jeweled banner. 

Jnanavasita (control of knowledge) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spiritual 
regeneration. Color: whitish blue. Attributes: 
sword on a blue lotus. 

Jok 

Creator god. African. A generic term employed 
by a large number of tribes. Generally the 
jok is represented by a totem and also has an 
animal name. The Acholi in Uganda perceive 70^ 
to live in caves to which they deliver food and 
drink offerings. For the Shilluk in Sudan, Jwok 
created mankind from river clay. 



Joldnam 

Lake god. Lake Albert [East Africa] . The owner 
of the "lake cows" which graze at the bottom of 
Lake Albert and which are herded by drowned 
fishermen. 

Jumis 

Fertility god. Pre-Christian Latvian. Symbolized 
by cereal stalks joined at the heads, or bent over 
and buried in the ground. 

JUNO 

ORIGIN Roman. Queen of heaven. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Hera (Greek). 
center(s) of cult Sparta, Rome and Heraeum. 
art references large numbers of sculptures. 
literary sources Aeneid (Virgil) etc. 

Juno is modeled on the Greek goddess Hera, hi 
the Roman pantheon she is the daughter of Cronos 
and Rhea and the sister and incestuous consort of 
Jupiter, who seduced her in the guise of a cuckoo. 
Following their wedding on Mount Olympus, 
Juno was accorded the title of goddess of marriage, 
though subsequently she was obliged to endure 
Jupiter's philandering with numerous concubines. 
Juno is the mother of Mars, Vulcan and Here. 
Her sacred animals are the peacock and the cuckoo 
and she is invariably depicted in majestic apparel. 
Her chief festival in Rome was the Matronalia. 
See also Kronos, Vulcanus. 

Junrojin 

God of luck. Shinto [Japan]. One of seven 
deities in Shintoism concerned with fortune. 
He is depicted as a Chinese hermit and is some- 
times confused with the god FUKUROKUJU. A 



ISO JUPITER 



small figure with a large head, he carries a staff 
to which is attached a little book. By tradition 
the book contains information about the lifes- 
pan of each mortal person. He is accompanied 
by a black deer, said to have been made thus by 
old age. 

JUPITER 

ORIGIN Roman. Head of the Roman pantheon. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC tO 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS luppiter; Jove; Juppiter. 
center(s) of cult throughout Roman world. 
ART references Sculptures, rehefs, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Vn^l). 

Jupiter parallels the Greek supreme deity Zeus, as 
the father of the gods. His origins Ue in the Indo- 
European sky god Dyaus Pitar. His consort is 
Juno. His main sanctuary is located on the Capi- 
toUne Hill in Rome and epithets include Tonans 
(thunderer) and Fulgurator (sender of lightning) 
although he is, above all, the giver of the bright 
light of day. He is, like Zeus, beheved to hurl 
thunderbolts from the sky and he was represented 
in the sanctuary of Jupiter Feretrius by a crude 
lump of stone. He is particularly responsible for 
the honoring of oaths which led to the practice of 
swearing in his name. 

In Rome he formed part of an early trinity with 
Mars, god of war and farming, and QuiRiNUS. 



This was later revised to include Jupiter, Juno and 
Minerva, all three of whom shared the Capito- 
line Temple. 

Jupiter became known under a variety of assim- 
ilated names. Thus he was Jupiter Victor leading 
the legions to victor}', or Jupiter Stator when they 
were in a defensive role, or Jupiter Protector. 
Away from Rome he was allied with the Syr- 
ian/Hittite god Dolichenus and in this form 
became popular with the Roman military with 
shrines as far away as Britain. 

Juventas 

Goddess of youth. Roman. Modeled on the 
Greek goddess Hebe. 

Jvaraharisvara (lord of fever) 
Plague god. Hindu. Associated with malaria, par- 
ticularly in Bengal. 

Jyestha 

Goddess of misfortune. Hindu (Puranic and ear- 
lier). The elder sister of the goddess Laksmi, 
Jyestha personifies poverty and is depicted with a 
large belly and long nose. In earlier Hinduism 
she was worshiped particularly in southern India. 
Also a NAKSATRA of evil influence; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). Her animal 
is an ass. Attributes: arrow, banner with crow, cup, 
blue lotus, hair-ornament and staff. 



K 



Ka Tyeleo 

Creator god. Senufo [Ivory Coast, West Africa]. 
Significantly in such an environment, according 
to tradition, he fashioned the fruit-bearing trees 
on the seventh day of creation. 



Kabeiroi 

Blacksmith gods. Greek. According to tradition 
the sons or grandsons of the blacksmith god 
Hephaistos. The cult was centered particularly 
on Lemnos, where there was an Etruscan tradi- 
tion until circa 500 BC, and at Thebes. The 
Kabeiroi are thought to derive from pre-Greek 
Asian fertility deities in Anatolia [Turkey]. 



Kabta 

God of artisans. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). In 
creation mythology he is given charge over brick- 
molds and pickaxes. 



Kabrakan 

Earthquake god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico] . The so-called "destroyer of mountains" 
usually coupled with the god ZiPAKNA who builds 
mountains. 



Ka'cak 

Sea spirit. Siberian Inuit [eastern Siberia]. A 
fierce old woman who lives in the ocean depths 
and owns all the creatures of the sea. She is 
said to feed off the bodies of drowned fisher- 
men and is the subject of sacrifice. 
See also Arnakua'gsak. 

Kacchapesvara (lord of the tortoise) 
God. Hindu (Puranic). An epithet of Siva. In 
certain artworks, particularly those inscribed 
on linga stones, ViSNU, in his aspect of 
Kurma(vatara), the tortoise, is depicted wor- 
shiping Siva. These illustrations were designed 
by Saivites as part of a propaganda exercise to 
demonstrate the superiority of Siva over Visnu. 

Kades 

FertiUty goddess. Canaanite. Depicted naked car- 
rying a snake and usually standing upon a lion. 
Taken over by the Egyptians (see Quades). 

Kadru (russet) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of the 
daughters of Daksa, consort of Kasyapa and 
mother of the nagas (snake demons). 



151 



I 52 Kagu-Tsuchi-No-Kami 



Kagu-Tsuchi-No-Kami 

Fire god. Shinto [Japan]. One of a number of 
fire KAMIS who are honored in special Hi-Matsuri 
festivals. He is worshiped in die mountain shrine 
of Kono-Jinja. The sacred fire can only be gener- 
ated by a board and stick and this is regarded as a 
powerful purifier in Shintoism. The most cele- 
brated temple of the fire kamis is situated on 
Mount Atago near Kyoto to which worshipers 
are drawn from ail over Japan to obtain charms as 
protection against fire. 

Kahilan 

Tutelary god. Pre-Islamic Arabian. Known only 
from inscriptions. 

Kahukura 

God of agriculture and creator of the rainbow. 

Polynesian and Maori. The son of RONGOMAI, 
Kahukura is invoked for the well-being of crops 
and in some regions the name appears to be syn- 
onymous with that of RONGOMATANE, the god of 
agriculture. Kahukura is particularly associated 
with a staple vegetable of the Maori, the kumara, a 
root tuber that was introduced to New Zealand by 
man and is said to possess many magical properties. 
Kahukura is not to be confused with a legendary 
character of the same name, a mortal hero who, in 
antiquity, learned the art of making fish nets. 

Kai Yum (singing lord) 
God of music. Mayan (Lacandon) (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico] . He lives in the sky and 
is attendant on CacoCH, one of the aspects the 
Mayan creator god. Depicted as a brazier shaped 
Hke a pottery drum. 

Kaikara 

Harvest goddess. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. 
Propitiated before harvesting with offerings of 
millet. 



Kakaku 

River god. Shinto [Japan]. His name is often 
inscribed on the edge tiles of a house to protect 
against fire. 

Kakasya (crow faced) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist. No further informa- 
tion available. 

Kakka 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). He was the attendant and minister 
of state to both Anu and Ansar, and is known 
particularly from the text of Nergal and Ereskigal. 

Kakupacat (fiery glance) 
War god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican] [Mex- 
ico]. Said to bear a shield of fire with which he 
protects himself in battie. 

Kala 

God of death. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). An epi- 
thet of Yama and occasionally of Siva. Also the 
personification of time in the Atharvaveda. 

Kala-Bhadra 

Minor goddess of death. Hindu (Puranic). An 
auspicious attendant of funerals who is invoked in 
burial grounds in order to safeguard the passage 
of the dead to the otherworld. She is sometimes 
referred to as Karala-Bhadra. 

Kalacakra (time wheel) 

Tutelary god. Buddhist (Mahayana) and Lamaist 

[Tibet]. One of a group of yi-dam tutelary 

deities chosen on a basis of personal selection. 
Perceived as time in the form of a Cakra 



Kalika 153 



(rotating wheel) and one who dominates the 
Hindu gods Kama and Rudra. Sakti with two 
to four heads. Color: blue. Attributes: a large 
variety held in up to twenty-four hands. Typi- 
cally four-headed. 

Kaladud (messenger of death) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). May be accom- 
panied by a horse. Color: red. Attributes: cow 
head, cup, hammer and trident. 

Kalavikamika 

Fever goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Attributes 
include a cup or skull. 

KALI (1) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Puranic) [India]. Goddess of 
destruction. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400, 
but known from much earlier times, until 
present. 

SYNONYMS many epithets, also linked with 
Durga. 

center(s) of cxjlt chiefly in Bengal. 
art REFERENCES Sculptures in stone and bronze. 
literary sources Ramayana epic and various 
Puranic texts. 

KaH is the most terrible and malignant aspect of 
the goddess Sakti (see also Durga) though the 
name Kali is an epithet appHed to several god- 
desses. She is the central figure of the sakta cult in 
Bengal. Her consort is generally perceived as 
Siva, whom she aids and abets in his more maUg- 
nant aspects. She is also one of the Mahavidya 
personifications of the Sakti of Siva. In her earh- 
est form she may have been the personification of 
the spirit of evil. 

She is depicted variously with long ragged 
locks, fang-hke teeth or even tusks, lips smeared 



or dripping with blood and claw-Hke hands with 
long nails. Her tongue often protrudes. She has 
no special vehicle but may be seen dancing on a 
prostrate Siva. She possesses ten (sometimes as 
many as eighteen) arms and may wear a necklace 
of skulls, a belt of severed arms, earrings of chil- 
dren's corpses, and snakes as bracelets. Often she 
is half-naked with black skin. Kali is depicted 
wading through gore on the battlefield and drink- 
ing the blood of her victims. Frequently she holds 
a severed head in one of her hands and a large 
sword in another. At cremation sites she sits upon 
the body of the deceased surrounded by attendant 
jackals. 

There are also more benign aspects of KaU. She 
slaughters demons and sometimes her hands are 
raised in blessing. The conflict of her personality 
follows the widely held notion that out of destruc- 
tion comes rebirth. 

Kali is worshiped in Bengal during the 
Dipavali festival. In southern India she is wor- 
shiped as a distinct plague goddess associated 
with cholera. 

Kali (2) 

Goddess of learning. Jain. One of sixteen headed 
by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Kaligni-Rudra (the funerary fire Rudra) 
Minor god. Hindu (Puranic). A violent represen- 
tation of Siva who is attendant at cremations and 
whose warlike attributes include sword, shield, 
bow and arrow. 

Kalika (black) 

1. Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Often 
depicted standing upon a corpse. Color: dark 
blue. Attributes: cup and knife. 

2. Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). A Sakti of 
NiRRTi, and an epithet of DuRGA. 



1 54 Kalisia 



Kalisia 

Creator god. Pigmy [Democratic Republic of 
Congo and Congo, central Africa]. The guardian 
of hunters and the jungle forests. Pigmy hunters 
invoke the god with special rituals and he delivers 
dream messages identifying the location of game. 

Kaliya 

Alinor serpent god. Hindu (Epic and Piiranic). One 
of the nagas in the endless conflict between good 
and evil, he poisoned the fresh water with his 
venom. The young Krsna revived all the life which 
had drunk from it and then almost destroyed Kaliya 
before taking the snake as one of his followers. By 
tradition he lives in depths of the river Yamuna. 

Kalki(n) (;with white horse) 
Horse god. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
Possibly the tenth avatar a of ViSNU. He rewards 
the good and punishes evil. The counterpart of 
the Buddhist deity Maitreya. Horses became 
associated with divine kingship in ancient India 
because of their speed of movement. Solar deities 
were perceived to ride horses across the sky and 
horse sacrifice became highly significant. Kalki is 
depicted either anthropomorphically or with the 
head of a horse and has four arms. He is attended 
by a white horse. Attributes: arrow, conch, prayer 
wheel, shield and sword. Also Visnuyasas. 

Kalligeneia 

Obscure birth goddess. Greek. Known only from 
ritual texts in Athens. 

Kaltesh 

Fertility goddess. Ugric (western Siberian). A 
goddess concerned with childbirth and the future 



destiny of the infant. Consort of the sky god 
Nun. Her sacred animals include the hare and 
the goose and she may be symbolized by a birch 
tree. 

Kalunga 

Creator god. Ndonga [northern Namibia, south- 
ern Africa]. Said to take the form of a giant man 
who is always partially hidden by clouds and gen- 
erally seen only by women intermediaries known 
as nelagos who go to converse with him in sacred 
places. He is the father of Musisi. The god is 
invoked at times of warfare and illness, but also as 
a fertility deity and before making a journey. 

KAMA(DEVA) (desire) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Puranic) [India] . God of carnal 

love. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1000 BC, and 

probably earlier, until present. 
SYNONYMS Kama; Manmatha; Ananga. 
center(s) OF CULT various. 
ART REFERENCES stone and metal sculptures; 

reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana epic and various 
Puranic texts. 

As god of love Kamadeva stimulates physical 
desire. The son of ViSNU and Laksmi, or of their 
reincarnations Krsna and RUKMINI, in which 
instance he is titled Kama. An alternative leg- 
endary beginning accounts that he rose 
from the heart of the creator god Brahma. His 
chief ally is the god of spring, Vasanta, his princi- 
pal consort the goddess of affection. Rati, and he 
is attended by a band of nymphs, the APSARAS. 
Kamadeva is depicted as a youthful god with 
green or red skin, decked with ornaments and 
flowers, armed with a bow of sugar cane, strung 



Kamini 155 



with a line of honey bees, and arrows tipped widi 
a flower. He may be diree-eyed and diree-headed 
and frequendy rides on a parrot. 

The consorts of Kamadeva are the goddesses 
Rati and Priti. Legend accounts that Kamadeva 
met his death at the hands of SwA, who inciner- 
ated him with flames from his middle eye. 
Kamadeva had inadvertently wounded the medi- 
tating god with one of his shafts of desire and had 
caused him to fall in love with Parvati. The epi- 
thet Ananga (bodiless) is applied to Kamadeva in 
this context. Kamadeva is reincarnated as Kama, 
who in turn is reincarnated as Pradyumna, the 
son of Krsna. The god is invoked particularly 
when a bride-to-be departs from her family 
home. 

Kamado-No-Kami 

Household god. Shinto [Japan]. Specifically the 
kami responsible for the cooking stove. 

Kama-Gami 

God of potters. Shinto Japan]. Each kiln has a 
small stone statue of the deity standing upon it to 
which the potters offer sake and salt before Ught- 
ing the fire. Also Kamadokami. 

Kamaksi (of amorous appearance) 
Goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern India and 
Sri Lanka]. A Sakti of Siva recognized locally 
at Kanchipuram, but also in her own right at 
several places in southern India. Also Kamatchi 
(Tamil). 

Kamala (htus-born) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Particularly 
worshiped in southern India. One of a group of 



Mahavidyas or personifications of the Sakti of 
Siva, representing Maharatri. 

Kainalasana 

God. Hindu (Puranic). An epithet of Brahma. 
One of the classic depictions in Hindu art 
wherein Brahma is drawn seated on a lotus, which 
blossoms from the navel of ViSNU. 

Katnantakamurti 

Minor god. Hindu (Puranic). A violent aspect 
of Siva in which he is depicted immolating 
Kama, the god of sexual love, using a blast of 
fire from his third eye. The reason given for 
this assault is that Kama had interrupted the 
ascetic meditation of Siva by making him 
desirous of Parvati. 

Kami 

Generic name for a deity. Shinto [Japan]. The 
title applied to the gods and goddesses of 
Shintoism. 

Kami-Musubi-No-Kami (divine produc- 
ing wondrous deity) 
Creator being. Shinto [Japan]. The third in the 
list of primordial deities appearing in the Kojiki 
and Nihongi sacred texts. A remote and vaguely 
defined deity who was born alone in the cosmos 
and whose presence remains hidden from 
mankind. Probably influenced by Chinese reh- 
gion. 

Kamini (loving woman) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An 

attendant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 



I 56 Kamo-Wake-Ikazuchi 



Kamo-Wake-Ikazuchi 

Rain god. Shinto [Japan]. One of many rain 
KAMIS invoked in Shintoism and included in a 
generic grouping of Raijin, deities of thunder, 
storm and rain. 

Kamrusepa 

Goddess of heahng. Hittite and Hurrian. Mother 
of Aruna. Involved in the legend of Telepesfu, 
the "missing" vegetation fertihty god. 

Kana-Yama-Biko-No-Kami 

God of miners. Shinto [Japan]. Born from the 
vomit of IZAXAAU and worshiped in the Nangu- 
Jinja and other shrines. His consort is Kana- 
Yama-Hime-No-Kami. One of the kamis of the 
so-called "metal mountain." 

Kana-Yama-Hitne-No-Kami 

Goddess of miners. Shinto [Japan]. Born from 

the vomit of IZANAMI and worshiped in the 
Nangu-Jinja and other shrines. Her consort is 
Kana-Yama-Biko-No-Kami. One of the kamis 
of the so-called "metal mountain." 



Kane 

God of light. Polynesian [Hawaii]. A sky god 
comparable with the more widely known Polyne- 
sian deity Atea. Considered to be part of a pri- 
mordial trinity with Ku (stability) and LONO 
(sound). 
See also Tane(mahuta). 

Kangalogba 

Primordial spirit. Pokot and Suk [Uganda and 
western Kenya, East Africa]. The female spirit 
personified in the dragonfly and also the apothe- 



osis of the sacred river Oubangui. The mother of 
the creator god ToRO. 

Kankala(murti) 

Minor god. A violent and heavily armed aspect 
of Siva. Traditionally accompanied in artworks 
by a skeleton, Kankala takes his place in mythol- 
ogy as the representation of the deity who slew 
ViSNu's bodyguard Visvaksena. This was 
prompted by the refusal of Visvaksena to permit 
Siva an audience with Visnu. These illustrations 
were designed by Saivites as part of a propa- 
ganda exercise to demonstrate the superiority of 
Siva over Visnu. 

Kankar Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who in later Hinduism became regarded as 
a Saptamatara (mother) of evil intent. Known 
particularly fi-om Bengal as a goddess who spreads 
disease. 

Kantatman 

Obscure god of medicine. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The twentieth of the thirty-nine minor 
avataras of the god ViSNU and possibly the same 
as Dhanvantari, as he is said to be a "carrier of 
nectar." By different genealogy he has been 
equated with Pradyumna, the god of love. 

Kanti (desire) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The Sakti of 
Narayana. 

KapaU (wearing skulls) 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of the group 

of eleven Ekadasarudras or forms of Rudra. 



Katajalina 1 57 



Kapalini (carrying a cup) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Karaikkal Ammaiyar 

Local mother goddess. Hindu [southern hidia]. 
Known from the town of Karikal as a deified asce- 
tic who is depicted with an emaciated form. 
Attribute: playing cymbals. 

Karai-Shin 

God of lightning. Buddhist [Japan]. One of the 
deities grouped in Shintoism as the Raijin gods of 
thunder, storm and rain. 

Karini 

Inferior goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Karkota 

Snake god. Hindu. One of a group of seven 
Mahanagas. Color: black. Attributes: rosary and 
waterjar. Three-eyed. 

Karmavasita (control of karman) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
twelve Vasitas or goddesses personifying the 
disciplines of spiritual regeneration — karma{n) 
is an act, rite or deed originating in the hope 
of future recompense. Color: green. Attribute: 
a staff. 

Karta 

Goddess of destiny. Pre-Christian Latvian. 
Known only from folk traditions. 



Karttikeya 

1. God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A form of 
Skanda who was reared by the Pleiades stars and 
is generally represented therefore with six heads. 
(In Hindu mythology there are only six Pleiades, 
not the seven recognized in modern astronomy.) 
His Sakti is Karttiki and his attendant animal is 
a peacock. Attributes: conch, hook, noose, prayer 
wheel, shield, spear, staff, sword and wood apple. 

2. God. Buddhist. Equating with the Hindu god 
Skanda. Color: red. Rides upon a peacock. Attrib- 
utes: cock, Sakti and staff. 

Karttiki 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 

of a group of nine Navasaktis who, in southern 
India, rank higher than the Saptamataras. 

Kasku 

Moon god. Pre-Hittite and Hittite. Known from 
inscriptions. Also KUSUH (Hurrian). 

Kasyapa (deriving from the Sanskrit for 
''tortoise'') 

Primordial god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). In 
Vedic hterature a divine demiurge and father of 
mankind, snake demons, DEVAS etc. His name 
stems, arguably, from the notion of the cosmos as 
a giant tortoise. He has had thirteen consorts. In 
other texts he is the father of the god Narada 
who consorted with one of the daughters of 
Daksa. Also Prajapati. 

Katajalina 

Animistic spirit. Australian aboriginal. Invoked at 
the ceremony of initiation by the Binbinga peo- 
ple once living on the west side of the Gulf of 
Carpentaria. Katajalina is reputed to Uve in an 



1 58 Kataragama 



anthill and to carry off the spirit of the young ini- 
tiate, kill him and then restore him to life as an 
adult. His presence is aimounced in the noise of 
the bull-roarer. 

Kataragama 

Tutelary god. Tamil [Sri Lanka]. One of four 
great national deities and equating to the Hindu 
god Skanda. Also Ceyon. 

Katavul 

Supreme god. Tamil [southern India and Sri 
Lanka]. The ultimate creator of all that exists in 
the world and the judge of humanity able to 
reward or punish at will. 

Katyayani 

Form of the goddess DuRGA or Parvati. Hindu 
(Puranic). Parvati, as the ascetic Kali, possessed 
a black skin. When SiVA ridiculed her she cast it 
off, and it was subsequently filled "with the com- 
bined brilliance of the gods" to create Katyayani. 
Her attendant animal is a lion or tiger. 

Kauket 

Primordial goddess. Egyptian. One of the eight 

deities of the Ogdoad representing chaos, she is 
coupled with the god Kek and appears in anthro- 
pomorphic form but with the head of a snake. 
The pair epitomize the primordial darkness. She 
is also depicted greeting the rising sun in the guise 
of a baboon. 

Kaumari 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The 
Sakti of Skanda (Kaumara) who in later Hin- 
duism became regarded as one of a group of seven 



Mataras (mothers) of evil intent. Also one of a 
group of eight Astamataras. She embodies lack 
of envy or, alternatively, delusion. Her animal is 
a peacock. Attributes: arrow, ax, bell, book, bow, 
cockerel, lotus, spear, staff and waterjar. 

Kavimudi (moonlight) 

Goddess of the light of the moon. Hindu. The 
consort of Candra. 



Kavra'nna (walking around woman) 
Sun spirit. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. The con- 
sort of the sun in Chukchee mythology. Also 
Ko'rgina (rejoicing woman). 

Kazyoba 

Sun god. Nyamwezi [Tanzania, East Africa]. 
Regarded as the tutelary deity and creator of the 
tribe. 

Keawe 

Creator god. Hawaiian. An androg)mous though 
apparently male principle or monad, he lived 
once in the dark empty abyss of Po. There, 
Keawe transformed primordial chaos into an 
orderly cosmos. He fashioned the sky from the 
lid of his calabash (a water- carrying gourd) and 
the sun from an orange disc formerly kept inside 
the calabash. 

Keawe's first son was Kane, the god of light, 
and his daughter was Na Wahine, both created 
through his own powers of conception. He 
subsequently entered into an incestuous rela- 
tionship with Na Wahine to father the chief 
pantheon of Hawaiian gods and goddesses, 
including most notably Ku, LONO and Kanaloa, 
who became known, collectively, as the tripar- 
tite god. 



Khasa 159 



Kebechet 

Chthonic snake goddess. Egj^tian. The daughter 
of Anubis who was involved in the cult of the 
dead as the deity responsible for libations. She is 
depicted as a serpent. 

Kek 

Primordial god. Egyptian. One of the eight 
deities of the Ocjdoad representing chaos, he is 
coupled with the goddess Kauket and appears in 
anthropomorphic form but with the head of a 
frog. The pair epitomize the primordial darkness. 
He is also depicted greeting the rising sun in the 
guise of a baboon. 

Kemos 

Tutelary god. Moabite [fordan]. Mentioned under 
the name of Chemosh in the Vetus Testamentum: 1 
Kings 11 .7. as being one of the gods worshiped by 
the Israelite king Solomon. Eventually adopted 
by the Greeks and absorbed into the cult of Ares. 

Kere'tkun 

Sea spirit. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. The chief 
being in the ocean depths, known to the mar- 
itime Chukchee. His consort is Cinei'nen. He 
owns all the creatures of the sea and is said to 
wear a cloak of walrus gut and to be extremely 
fierce. He feeds on the bodies of drowned fisher- 
men and is the subject of sacrifice. Also Peruten. 

Kesava (long-haired) 

Minor avatara of ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). His Sakti is KiRTl. 

Kesini (hairy) 

Goddess. Buddhist. An attendant of Arapacana. 



Ketua 

God of fortune. Ngbandi [Democratic Republic 
of Congo, central Africa]. One of seven deities 
invoked at daybreak. He controls both good luck 
and ill-fortune. According to tradition he has 
seven children: morning, noon, evening, night, 
sun, moon and water. He accords to water the 
privileges of a firstborn son. 

Khadir 

Vegetation god. Pre-Islamic north African. He 
wanders the earth returning to the same spot 
once in every 500 years and is said to have 
gained his immortality by drinking from the 
well of life. Similar in some respects to the Syr- 
ian god Adonis and revered by Alexander the 
Great. Normally referred to as Al-Khidr (the 
green one). 

Khandoba 

Form of the god Siva. Hindu (late). Khandoba is 
beUeved to have emerged as a deity with a distinct 
cultic following no earlier than the thirteenth or 
fourteenth century, mainly in western India and 
centered on Jejuri, near Poona. The god is gen- 
erally regarded as one of several martial forms 
which Siva took to combat demons. His consort 
is the goddess Mhalsa, considered to be a form 
of Parvati. He is depicted bearing four arms and 
is usually mounted on a horse, but may also be 
accompanied by a dog. Attributes: bowl, drum, 
sword and trident. Also Makhari; Mallari; Mart- 
land. 

Khasa (itch) 

Minor goddess. Hindu (Vedic). Daughter of 
Daksa, consort of Kasyapa and a deity control- 
Ung spirits of forests. 



1 60 Khasapama 



Khasapama (gliding through the air) 
God. Buddhist. A variety of AvALOKiTESVARA. 
Color: white. Attributes: image of Amitabha on 
the crown, and lotus. 

Khen-Ma 

Goddess. Buddhist pTibet]. The female controller 
of the earth's demons, attended by a ram. 
Attribute: a golden noose. 

Khen-Pa 

God. Buddhist [Tibet]. The male counterpart of 
Khen-Ma, he controls the demons of heaven, 
attended by a white dog. Attribute: a crystal staff. 

Kherty (lower one) 

Chthonic or earth god. Egyptian. Known from at 
least 2500 BC, Kherty acts as a guardian of royal 
tombs but displays a more ominous aspect threat- 
ening the soul of the ruler. Pyramid Texts warn 
that the king must be protected from Kherty by 
the sun god Re. Depicted anthropomorphically 
or with the head of a ram. 

Khipa 

Tutelary deity. Hittite and Hurrian. This may be 
an archaic name for the goddess Ma. Also Khebe. 

Khnum 

Chthonic or earth god. Egyptian (Upper). Said to 
create human life on a potter's wheel but strictly 
at the behest of creator deities. He is usually 
seated before a potter's wheel on which stands a 
naked figure in the process of molding. The 
Khnum cult was principally directed from sanc- 
tuaries at Esna, north of the first Nile cataract, 
and at Elephantine where mummified rams cov- 



ered with gold leaf and buried in stone sarcophagi 
have been discovered. Khnum supervises the 
annual Nile flood, which is physically generated 
by the god Hapy. His consort at Esna is the god- 
dess Menhyt. Khnum is also described at other 
sites as the BA or soul of various deities including 
Gee and Osiris. Depicted anthropomorphically 
or with the head of a ram. 

Khon-Ma 

Chthonic goddess. Tibetan. Ruler of a horde 

of demons who live in the earth and who 
may infest houses. She is depicted typically 
wearing yellow robes and with attributes includ- 
ing a golden noose. Her vehicle is a ram. To 
guard against her influence, a ram's skull is hung 
from the doorpost of a dwelling and filled with 
offerings. 

Khons(u) (wanderer) 

Moon god. Egyptian (Upper). Recognized from 

at least 2500 EC but best known during the New 
Kingdom (mid-sixteenth century EC). A signifi- 
cant deity at Thebes, where he is described as an 
offspring of Amun and MUT. His sacred animal is 
the baboon. There is a Khonsu precinct as part of 
the Temple of Amun in the Karnak complex. 
From the Greco-Roman period there exists a 
sanctuary of Kom-ombo where Khonsu is seen as 
the offspring of the crocodile god Soeek and the 
mother goddess Hathor. Depicted anthropo- 
morphically or with a falcon's head, but in either 
case enveloped in a close-fitting robe. He wears a 
crown consisting of a crescent moon subtending 
a fiall moon orb. 

Khyung-Gai mGo-Can 

Local god. Buddhist [Tibet]. Equating to the 
Hindu god Garuda. 



Klehanoai 161 



Ki (the great one) 

Archetypal chthonic principle. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian). According to some traditions, Ki is 
the daughter of Ansar and KJSAR and consort of 
An. As the cosmos came into being, An took the 
role of god of heaven and Ki became the person- 
ification of the earth and underworld. She is the 
mother of the god of the air, Enlil, with whom 
she descended from the heavens. Some authori- 
ties argue that she was never regarded as a deity. 
There is no evidence of a cult and the name 
appears in a limited number of Sumerian creation 
texts. The name Uras (tilth) may relate. 
See also Antu(m). 

Kianda 

God of the sea. Kimbundu [Angola, southern 
Africa]. Guardian of the Atlantic Ocean and 
its creatures. Invoked by fishermen who place 
offerings on the shore. His presence may be 
symboUzed by a skull. 

Kibiika 

God of war. Buganda [Uganda, East Africa]. The 
brother of the creator god Mukasa, said to reside on 
the island of Sese. According to tradition, he secured 
victory in war for the Buganda by taking the form of 
a cloud which hovered above their enemies and 
rained spears and arrows. He apparentiy enjoyed a 
succession of temples in the past which housed the 
hidden statue of the god and his sacred shield. 

Kini' je 

Sky spirit. Yukaghir (eastern Siberia] . The being in 
charge of keeping account of time. Also Ki'njen. 

Kinnar (divine lyre) 

Musician god. Western Semitic. Mentioned in 
Ugaritic texts and known from Phoenicia. 



Probably equating with the Syrian Adonis. Also 
Kinnur. 

Kinyras 

Local god of metalwork. Greek. Known from 
Cyprus as a magician and smith. Derived from an 
older western Asiatic model. 
See also KOTAR. 

Kirti (glory) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The Sakti 
of Kesava. Attribute: waterjar. 

Kisar 

Primordial god(dess). Mesopotamian (Sumerian 
and Babylonian-Akkadian). The consort or equal 
of Ansar and mother or creator of An and Ki in 
the creation cosmos. 

Kitanitowit (good creator) 
Creator god. Algonquin Indian [eastern Canada]. 
The first being who is present everywhere in the 
universe. He is invisible and is represented dia- 
grammatically by a point surrounded by a circle 
on which are marked the four quarters. 

Kiya'rnarak (I exist) 

Supreme being. Inuit. An indistinct and remote 
character, out of touch with ordinary mortals, 
who created the world. 

Klehanoai (night-bearer) 
Moon god. Navaho [USA]. According to tradi- 
tion, he was created at the same primordial time 
as the dawn, from a crystal bordered with white 
shells. His face is said to be covered with sheet 



162 Klotho 



lightning and the sacred primeval waters. The 
moon disc is actually a shield behind which the 
god moves invisibly across the night sky. He is 
never impersonated or depicted. Also Tlehanoai. 

Klotho 

Goddess of spinning. Pre-Homeric Greek. 
According to Hesiod, one of the daughters of 
Zeus and Themis. An ancient deity Hnked with 
Lachesis and Atropos as one of a trio of MoiRAi 
or Fates. She is depicted with a spindle. 

KoUapura-Mahalaksmi 

Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Six-armed. Attributes: 
club, shield and wine glass. 

Kondos 

God of cereal crops. Pre-Christian Finnish. Par- 
ticularly identified with the sowing of wheat. 
After Christianization, he was absorbed by the 
figure of St. Urban. 

Kono-Hana-Sakuya-Hime-No-Kami 

Mountain goddess. Shinto [Japan]. The deity 
who guards the sacred Mount Fuji. A daughter 
of O-Yama-Tsu-Mi and the consort of Prince 
NiNlGl, her shrine is located on the summit 
of the mountain. She is also closely associated 
with Mount Asama about 80 kilometers to the 
north. 

Kore (the girl) 

Youthful goddess of the corn. Greek. The more 
generic name for the goddess Persephone. 
Identified as the daughter of Demeter. She is 
the spirit of the corn as distinct from her mother 
who is the giver of the corn. Depicted on coinage 



as a woman's head adorned with ears of corn. 
She is integral to the Eleusinian Mysteries in 
which she is abducted to Hades, resulting in the 
distress of her mother and the blighting of 
nature. At Samaria-Sebaste in Syrio-Palestine, 
Kore was the only deity worshiped, apart from 
the emperor. 

Korravai 

War goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern India 
and Sri Lanka]. Worshiped in desert regions in 
southern India, thought to live in trees and equat- 
ing to DuRGA. She has a son, Murukan. Also 
Katukilal; Korrawi. 

Kotar 

Blacksmith god. Western Semitic (Syrian). Iden- 
tified in the Ugaritic (Ras Samra) texts as building 
a palace for the god Baal and forging his weapons 
for the conflict against the sea god Yamm. Known 
also from Phoenician inscriptions. Also Kosar, 
Chusor, KiNYRAS. 

Kotisri 

Mother goddess. Buddhist. The so-called "mother 
of 7,000 buddhas." 

Koto-Shiro-Nushi 

God of luck. Shinto [fapan]. Probably syncretized 
early in Shintoism with the god Ebisu. 

Kouretes 

Forest deities. Greek. Known from Fphesus and 
other sites as the spirits of trees and streams, they 
are also perceived as nymphs who dance in atten- 
dance on the baby Zeus. The term is also applied 
to a bride or young woman. 



KRSNA 163 



Kourotrophos 

Obscure wet-nurse goddess. Greek. Known only 
from ritual texts. 

Koyote 

Tutelary god. North American Indian. Recog- 
nized by several tribes, including the Navaho and 
Apache. He acts as a cult hero who intercedes 
with more remote creator spirits and teaches the 
Indian. 

Kratos 

God of strength. Greek. One of the sons of the 
goddess Styx and brother of BlA (force). 

Kronos 

Archetypal fertility god. Pre-Greek. He is of 
unknown origin but is the son of the earth mother 
Gaia and the sky god OURANOS, whom he 
usurped after castrating him. His consort is Rhea. 
So as not to suffer a similar fate to his father he 
swallowed all his children except Zeus who was 
kept from him by a ruse. Zeus eventually hurled 
Kronos into Tartaros, the abyss in which all the 
Titans were confined. He was celebrated in the 
Greek harvest festival of kronia which equalled 
the Roman saturnalia. During Hellenic times he 
was the supreme god at Byblos [Syria]. He is 
depicted on coinage of Antiochus IV (175-164 
BC) nude, leaning on a scepter, with three pairs of 
wings, two spread and one folded. 

KRSNA (the dark one) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. Incar- 
nation of Visnu. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 300 BC or ear- 
lier until present. 

SYNONYMS Kannan (Tamil). Many epithets. 



center(s) OF CULT generally throughout India, 

but particularly Mathura. 
ART references Sculptures generally bronze but 

also stone. Reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Mahabharata epic, Bhagavad- 

Gita and Bhagavata-Purana. 

Krsna is the eighth and arguably the most impor- 
tant incarnation or avatara of the god ViSNU. He 
appears inauspiciously in the Vedic texts, but 
grows in stature and popularity. Allegedly born at 
Mathura on the bank of the river Yamvina, he is 
the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, fostered by 
Nanda and Yasoda. He is a deity who epitomizes 
human aspirations and shortcomings together. 
Thus he is both a Hindu divine hero, and a 
drinker and womanizer. He has no legal consort 
but his chief mistress, a married woman, is 
Radha. He is reputed to have enjoyed as many as 
16,000 such liaisons. 

Almost certainly, Krsna originated as a fertil- 
ity god of herdsmen and vegetation who became 
syncretized with the hero of the Mahabharata 
epic. In the Bhagavata-Purana, Krsna is also 
perceived as the embodiment of the cosmos — 
the vault of heaven is his navel, the stars his 
chest, the sky his eyes. 

Krsna's incarnation was, by tradition, 
designed to save the world from the demonic 
king Kansa. He is particularly worshiped as a 
baby (Balakrsna) and as a youthful shepherd 
accompanied by Radha. He is seen as a skilled 
musician often depicted playing the flute at the 
sound of which nature pauses to listen, storms 
are calmed, rivers flow calmly and maidens are 
roused. 

The legends of Krsna's childhood depict him as 
a somewhat precocious child who plays tricks and 
ransacks kitchen jars of butter and curds. The 
incident with butter has been a popular theme 
for sculptures. As an adult he champions the 
struggle with the adversaries of mankind, the 



1 64 Krsodaii 



nagas, subduing the serpent Kaliya (see also 
Garuda). He may be seen standing on Garuda. 
Color: black or dark blue. Attributes: flute, the 
hill of Govardhana on one finger, an ornament, 
prayer wheel and shepherd's stafi^. He may, on 
occasion, carry other objects. 

Krsodaii (thin-waisted) 
Goddess. Hindu. An emaciated form of Camunda, 
a personification of famine. She stands upon a 
corpse. Attributes: club, iron rod, skull and trident. 

Krttika(s) 

Minor goddess(es) of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). Strongly malevolent NAKSATRA{s) con- 
sisting of the six stars in the Pleiades constellation 
who become nurses of the god Skanda. (In 
Hindu mythology there are only six Pleiades, not 
the seven recognized in modern astronomy.) 

Ksama (patience) 

Alinor goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of the daughters of Daksa. Attribute: trident. 

Ksantiparamita 

Philosophical deity. Buddhist. One of the Parami- 
TAS. Spiritual offspring of Ratnasambhava. 
Color: yellow. Attributes: jeweled banner and 
white lotus. 

Ksetrapala 

God of passage. Hindu (Puranic). Form of the 
god Bhairava specifically designated as a 
guardian deity of doorways. Also regarded as a 
tutelary deity in Saivite temples. Stands upon 
a lotus and possesses a number of attributes. 



Kshiunai 

FertiUty goddess. Kafir [Afghanistan]. A benefi- 
cent goddess appearing in the guise of a goat. 
Legend has it that either she or her eldest daugh- 
ter is the mother of the god MON. She is said to 

have given mankind the boon of goats, grapes, 
other fruit and vegetation in general. She was 
called upon in times of sickness. She is depicted in 
wooden statues with prominent long breasts and 
vulva. Also Kime. 

Ksitigarbha (womb of the earth) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Known exten- 
sively from northern India to China and Japan. 
One of the group of female BODHISATTVAS or 
huddha-designates. Color: yellow or green. Attrib- 
utes: book, bowl, jewel, staff and water jar. In 
China she is recognized as an underworld deity, 
Di-zang. In Japan she becomes a guardian deity of 
passage, Jizo. 

Ku 

Primordial being. Polynesian [Hawaii]. An aspect 
of a tripartite deity which also includes Kane, the 
Hght, and LONO, sound. They existed in chaos 
and darkness, which they broke into pieces to 
allow the light to come in. 

KUANTI 

ORIGIN Taoist (Chinese). God of war. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 300 until 

present. 

SYNONYMS Guan Di; Kuan Kung. 
center(s) OF CULT throughout China. 
ART REFERENCES paintings and sculpture. 
LITERARY SOURCES various philosophical and 

reUgious texts, mostly inadequately researched 

and untranslated. 



Kubaba 165 



The most powerful figure in the pantheon, the 
god is based on an historical figure who lived AD 
162-220. He was a general in the imperial army 
and came to prominence afl:er a successfiil battle 
with the warlord Tung Cho. He was subsequently 
deified. 

The epitome of austerity, loyalty and integrity, 
he is worshiped as the personification of the 
sacred principles of the hsieh or knightly warrior. 
He was the tutelary deity of the Chung emperors 
and is the god of the mihtary but also of restau- 
rants, pawn shops, curio dealers and Uterature. 
He is a guardian of secret societies, including Tri- 
ads, and brotherhoods, particularly in Hong 
Kong, but also of the police, thus many CID 
offices possess an altar to Kuan Ti, as Kuan Kung. 

He is depicted seated on a tiger skin, sometimes 
with the face of a tiger on the breast of his robe. 
His magical sword is the "black dragon" and his 
horse is the "red hare." His festivals are celebrated 
on the fifteenth day of the second moon and on the 
thirteenth day of the fifth moon. He thus presides 
over the Ught half of the year — spring and summer. 

Images of Kuan Ti are kept by most households 
in China, facing the entrance of the building, to 
frighten away evil influences. 

KUAN YIN (hearer of cries) 

ORIGIN Taoist (Chinese). Benign guardian goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 100, though 

in various forms, until present. 
SYNONYMS Guan Yin; KWANNON (Japanese). 
center(s) of cult throughout Chinese culture. 
ART REFERENCES paintings and sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES Various philosophical and 

reUgious texts, mostly inadequately researched 

and untranslated. 

An essentially foreign deity, derived from the 
Buddhist god AVALOKITESVARA, and therefore 



probably of Indian origin. Introduced into 
China as a male deity until circa AD 600 when 
the transition to a goddess began; it was com- 
pleted by circa AD 11 00. Although accepted into 
Taoism, in contrast to all other Chinese deities, 
she is not provided with the normal offerings of 
food and wine. 

An alternative tradition places her in a mortal 
existence as the princess Miao Shan who 
committed suicide by strangling herself and was 
subsequently taken by the Buddha to an island, 
P'u T'o, where she spent nine years perfecting 
herself. 

Kuan Yin enjoys a major popularity as a pure 
and benevolent spirit whose influence has 
eclipsed that of the historical Buddha incarna- 
tion, Sakyamuni, in China. Her name is invoked 
if danger threatens and she has strong fertility 
connotations — newly married couples pray to her 
for children. 

Several other Chinese goddesses are consid- 
ered by some authors to be manifestations of 
Kuan Yin. She frequently shares sanctuaries with 
the queen of heaven, Tin Hau, and has taken 
over part of her area of influence. She is thus 
titled Goddess of the Southern Sea, which is tech- 
nically an accolade due to Tin Hau. 

Kuan Yin is depicted seated upon a lotus with 
attributes including a vase filled with the dew of 
compassion and a willow branch. Her attendant 
Lung Nu may stand behind her with other 
objects, including a peacock-Hke bird, pearls and 
a rosary. 

Kubaba 

Mother goddess. AnatoUan and northern Syrian. 
She was worshiped particularly at Carchemish 
and seems to equate with the Hittite goddess 
Sauska. Attributes include pomegranate and mir- 
ror. Also Gubaba, Kupapa. 



1 66 Kubera 



Kubera (misshapen) 

1. God of riches. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
He was originally the head of the YAKSAS spirits of 
the forests, but by Puranic times was associated 
with wealth and productivity. He is also a dikpala 
guardian of the northern quarter. The son of 
Pulastya and Idavida, his consorts include Yaksi, 
Vasudhara and Vriddhi. Identified with the dty of 
Alaka. He is depicted as a dwarfish figure riding 
upon a Brahman or a chariot. Color: white. Attrib- 
utes: generally carrying a purse, but occasionally 
with various other items. Also Kuvera, Kauveri. 

2. God of riches. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of a group of Dharmapala with terrible appear- 
ance and royal attire. Also a dikpala or guardian of 
the northern quarter. Color: yellow. Attributes: ax, 
banner, club, cup, hook. Ichneumon disgorging 
jewels, noose, rehquary and occasionally a trident. 

Kubjika (hump-back) 

Goddess of vtTiting. Hindu. Personification of the 
thirty-two Tantric syllables. 

Kubuddhi (stupid) 

Minor goddess. Hindu. One of the consorts of 
Ganesa. 

Kucumatz 

Supreme god. Mayan (Quiche Indian, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. An androgynous being 
who created all things out of itself Comparable 
with KUKULCAN. 

Kuei Shing 

God of literature. Chinese. Believed to reside 
in the star constellation of Ursa Major. Also 
Zhong-Kui. 



Kuju 

Sky spirit. Yukaghir [eastern Siberia]. A benevo- 
lent being who supplies mankind with food. 
When fish appear in great numbers in the lakes, 
they are thought to have fallen from the sky. 

Kuku-Ki-Waka-Muro-Tsuna-Ne-No- 
Kami 

Guardian deity. Shinto [Japan]. The god who 
guards the house and its environs as a whole. 

Kukulcan 

Creator god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico] . Kukulcan is, in origin, a Taltec god who 
was adopted by the Mayan culture and who corre- 
sponds closely with the Aztec deity QuETZAL- 
COATL. He is chiefly concerned with reincarnation, 
but is also responsible for the elements of fire, 
earth and water. He is depicted with various attrib- 
utes, including a torch or a lizard representing fire, 
maize for earth, and a fish for water. Also God B. 

Kuku-Toshi-No-Kami 

God of grain. Shinto [Japan]. The deity respon- 
sible for the harvest of full-grown rice. His 
shrines are often serviced by Buddhist priests. 

Kuladevata (family god) 
Generic name of a household god. Hindu. The 
god is chosen by a family to be their guardian 
deity and they all assemble at his temple, as and 
when necessary, for worship. Also Kulanayaka. 

Kuladevi 

Goddess. Hindu. The female equivalent of a 
Kuladevata. 



Kun-Rig 167 



Kiilika (of good family) 

Snake god. Hindu. One of a group of seven 
Mahanagas. Attributes: rosary and water jar. 
Three-eyed. 



form the earth. He added animals and plants, but 

finally became tired and went to sleep in a hole at 
the bottom of the lake, which he dug using a hill 
as a shovel. 



Kulisankusa (having an ax and a goad) 
Goddess of learning. Jain [India] . One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVI headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Kulisesvari (lady of the ax) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Often depicted 

with a corpse. Color: white. Attribute: a staff. 

KuUa 

God of builders. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). The god responsible for 
the creation of bricks. 

Kumari (virgin) 

Goddess. Hindu. Generally recognized to be an 
epithet of DuRGA. Worshiped at a famous tem- 
ple on the southernmost tip of India at Cape 
Comorin. Also known in Nepal, where a 
small girl provides an earthly incarnation of 
the goddess. 

Kumarbi 

Creator god. Hittite and Hurrian. An antique 
deity who was usurped by more "modern" gods. 
He is the father of Ullikummi in Hittite legend. 

Kumokums 

Creator god. Modoc Indian [Oregon, USA] . He 
sat beside Tule Lake, which was all that existed, 
and created the world by scooping out mud to 



Kunado-No-Kami 

Guardian deity. Shinto [Japan]. One of three 
KAMIS particularly concerned with the protec- 
tion of roads and crossroads. They also guard 
the boundaries of the house and the ways lead- 
ing to it. They may be known as Yakushin 
deities who protect against plague. Generally 
identified as Michi-No-Kami or Chiburi-No- 
Kami. 

Kundalini 

Mother goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The spirit of the earth perceived in 
human form and responsible for the provision of 
all food from the soil. The earth is considered to 
be sacred and should not be owned by any one 
person, but can be utiUzed for the benefit of the 
community as a whole. KundaHni is believed to 
have been the mother of all other vegetation 
deities. 

Ku'nkunxuliga 

Tribal god. Ma'malelegale Indian [British Colum- 
bia, Canada]. The personification of the thun- 
derbird, known to many Indian tribes, who lives 
in a palace in the upper world. The noise of the 
thunder is the beating of its wings. 

Kun-Rig (knowing all) 

God. Buddhist [Tibet]. Four-headed form of 

Vairocana. Attribute: prayer wheel. 



168 KuntubXanPo 



Kuntu bXan Po 

Head of pantheon. Bon (pre-Lamaist) [Tibet]. 
The chief god in the Bon pantheon, he engen- 
dered the world from a handful of mud scraped 
from the primeval waters and created all living 
things from an egg. 

Kura-Okami-No-Kami (great prodmer of 

rain on the heights) 
Rain god. Shinto [Japan]. Known alternatively as 
the "dark rain god," he may also generate snow falls. 

Kurdaligon 

God of smiths. Ossetian [Caucasus]. He assists 
the passage of dead souls by attending to their 
horses' shoes. 

Kurma(vatara) 

Incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The second avatara of Visnu, Kurma 

appears in the form of a tortoise which acts as a 
pivot for the mountainous churning rod the gods 
employ to make ambrosia from the primal sea of 
milk after the flood. Kurma is depicted with a 
human torso surmounting a tortoise shell. Visnu is 
said to have appeared in this form in order to 
recover some of the possessions lost during the del- 
uge. Attributes: club, conch, lotus and prayer wheel. 
Also the name for a vehicle of various deities. 

KurukuUa 

1. Goddess of boats. Hindu. A Tantric deity gen- 
erally depicted in a boat made of jewels. Also god- 
dess of wine. 

2. Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). The Sakti of 
Amitabha. Usually of terrifying appearance. 
Attributes: arrow, bow, flower, hook, noose, 
rosary and trident. 



Kus 

God of herdsmen. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). Identified in the Theogony 
ofDunnu. 

Kushi-Dama-Nigi-Haya-Hi (soft fan sun) 
Sun god. Shinto [fapan]. The apotheosis of the 
morning stm sent down by the sun goddess Amat- 
ERASU before Prince NiNiGl appeared on earth. 

Kushi-Iwa-Mado-No-Mikoto 

Guardian deity. Shinto [Japan]. The god who 
protects entrance gates. 

Kusuh 

Moon god. Hittite and Hurrian [Anatolia]. Also 
Kasku. 

Kutji 

Animistic spirits. Australian aboriginal. Malevo- 
lent beings who conceal themselves in under- 
growth and rock crevices and manifest as animals 
and birds, including eagles, crows, owls, kangaroos 
and emus. Kutji are considered to have taken over 
wild creatures if their behavior assumes unfamiHar 
patterns. Only shamans may contain the influence 
of these spirits. Otherwise, they possess the poten- 
tial to inflict disease and death on to human beings. 

Kutkhu 

Guardian spirit. Kemchadal [southeastern 
Siberia]. The counterpart of the Koryak 
Quikinn.a'qu, he fashioned the created world 
into its present form and is the majordomo of the 
creator god. His consort is Ilkxum and his sister 
is Xutlizic. His children include Si'mskalin, 
Tl'ZlL-KUTKHU and Sl'DUKU. In mythology he is 



Kyumbe 1 69 



depicted as a salacious character. Also Kutq; 
Kutkinnaqu. 

Ku'urkil 

The founder of the world. Chukchee [eastern 
Siberia]. Not only a deity, but a powerful shaman 
and the first human. He equates with the Koryak 
deity Quikinn.a'qu. 

Kvasir 

Minor god of wisdom. Nordic (Icelandic). By tra- 
dition he was created from the sahva of the Aesir 
and Vanir deities, who thus combined their 
knowledge into a single being. He was slain by 
dwarfs who concocted a fermented drink from 
his blood, mixed with honey, and this mead 
became the inspiration of poets. He is also iden- 
tified in Welsh mythology. 

Kwannon 

Form of AvALOKiTESVARA. Buddhist Uapan]. 
See also Kuan Yin. 

Kwoth 

Creator god. Nuer [Sudan]. The Nuer people 
have been affected by the expansion of Islam, and 
probably by Christianity, and recognize a 
supreme deity, or spiritual being, responsible for 
all creation. One of his epithets is Tutgar, mean- 
ing "strong and without Umit." 

KYBELE 

ORIGIN Phrygian [northwestern Turkey]. Mother 
goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1500 BC and 
probably much earlier in prehistory, until 
Christianization (circa AD 400). 



SYNONYMS Cybele (Roman); Kybebe. 

center(s) of cult Pessinus (Asia Minor) and 
Rome, but also extensively elsewhere. 

ART REFERENCES black obelisk (lost); many clas- 
sical sculptures; a dish from Parabiago (in 
Milan); possibly the subject of a well-known 
seal from Knossos. 

LITERARY SOURCES votive inscriptions, etc. 

One of the most important of the Asian mother 
goddesses. She probably originates as a mountain 
goddess who became closely equated with the 
Greek mother goddesses Rhea and Dejvieter. 
According to legend, the Greek god Zeus raped 
her and she bore a monstrous son Agdistis. Her 
consort is Attis, whom she discovered to be 
imfaithful. In remorse, he castrated himself under 
a pine tree and bled to death. 

In circa 204 BC the black stone by which she was 
personified in Pessinus (Phrygia) was carried to 
Rome and installed in the Temple of Victories on 
the Palatine as Cybele Magna Mater. This fulfilled 
a prophecy that if the "great mother" was brought 
to Rome, the war with the invader Hannibal would 
be won. She is often depicted riding in a chariot 
drawn by panthers or lions and is accompanied by 
fi-enzied dancers or Korybantes. She was invoked 
in the three-day festival commencing with mourn- 
ing {tristia) followed by joy {hilaria) in the spring 
during which her emasculated priests, the galhi, 
gashed themselves with knives. Attributes include 
key, mirror and pomegranate. 

Kyumbe 

Creator god. Zaramo [Tanzania, East Africa]. 
Tradition has it that the earth and sky may have 
been present before this being emerged. He is, 
however, perceived as having engendered all liv- 
ing things on earth. He first created animals' bod- 
ies without tails. When they had their legs fitted, 
Kyumbe added tails as an afterthought. 



L 



Lachesis 

Goddess of lot-casting. Pre-Homeric Greek. 
According to Hesiod one of the daughters of 

Zeus and Themis. One of an ancient trio 
of MoiRAi with Klotho and Atropos, she sus- 
tains the thread of hfe and is depicted carrying 
a scroll. 

Lactanus 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Said to make 
the crops "yield milk" or thrive. 

Laghusyamala (lightly dark colored) 

Minor goddess. Hindu (Puranic). Attributes: lute 

and wine glass. 

Lahamu 

Primordial deity. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Known from the Babylonian 
creation epic Eninna Elis as one of a pair who 
were created by TiAxMAT from the primeval 
ocean and who, it is suggested, were repre- 
sented by the silt of the sea-bed. Lahamu and 
Lahmu in turn created Ansar and KiSAR, who 
created Anu. 



Lahar 

God of cattle. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
According to legend, he was sent to earth by the 
gods Enlil and Enki, to work in conjimction 
with the grain goddess ASNAN. In iconography 
he usually has ears of corn sprouting from his 
shoulders. He may also carry a bow and club and 
is often depicted with a ram at his feet. 

Lahmu 

Primordial deity. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Known from the Babylonian creation 
epic Enuma Elis as one of a pair who were created 
by TiAMAT from the primeval ocean and who, it 
is suggested, were represented by the silt of the 
sea-bed. Lahmu and Lahamu in turn created 
Ansar and Kisar, who created Anu. 

Laima 

Goddess of fate. Pre-Christian Latvian. Particu- 
larly concerned with guarding women at child- 
birth, and with the newborn. Regarded as a 
household goddess of prosperity and good fortune. 

Laka 

Goddess of dancing. Polynesian [Hawaii]. A 
minor deity who is nonetheless greatly revered by 



I70 



Lan Cai-he 171 



islanders in a hedonistic cult of song, dance and 
sexual liberality. 

Laksmana (with auspiciom marks) 
God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A half- or 
younger brother of the god Rama. The son of 
Dasaratha and Sumitra, his consort is Urmita. He 

often stands to the left of Rama and may be 
depicted holding a bow (see also Satrughna). 
Color: golden. Attributes: bow and ornaments. 

LAKSMI 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. Con- 
sort of Visnu. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 300 BC and 
earlier, through to present times. 

SYNONYMS Sri-Laksmi; Sri-Devi; Dharani 
(earth); see also SiTA. 

center(s) of cult no temples, but revered gen- 
erally throughout India. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures generally bronze but 
also stone. Reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana and Mahahharata 
epics; Puranic literature. 

A major Hindu goddess who originated perhaps 
as a mother goddess but who now represents 
wealth and prosperity and epitomizes the later 
Hindu (Brahmanical) notion of the active female 
principle or Sakti in a male deity. According to 
the Ramayana, she arose from the primal Hindu 
sea of milk. Identified as the consort of ViSNU 
from circa AD 400 onward, she is generally 
depicted as a beautiful golden-skinned woman 
possessing four, or more commonly two, arms. 
She stands or rests on a lotus which may be 
watered by two attendant elephants. Another 
favored portrait finds her washing Visnu 's feet as 
he reclines on the thousand-headed serpent 
Sesha, an action which is said to bring Visnu 



dreams. She emerges in many guises, changing 
form as Visnu changes his own incarnations. She 
is perceived also to emerge as the black-skinned 
and destructive KALI. Many attributes, but most 
commonly a lotus. 

Laksmi embodies the model Hindu wife, faith- 
ful and subservient. She may be depicted on the 
knee of Visnu's avatara Narayana as Laksmi- 
Narayana. She is reincarnated with each of his 
other avatars — thus beside Rama she becomes 
Sita, said to have been born from a furrow, and 
with Krsna she is first Radha, then RUKMINI. 
She is worshiped particularly at the start of the 
business year in India. In the Divali (Eeast of 
Lamps) on the last day of the dark lunar period 
toward the end of October or early in November, 
every household lights a lamp in honor of Laksmi. 
She is also propitiated by gambling. 

Lalaia'il 

God of shamans. Bella Coola Indian [British 
Columbia, Canada]. The deity who initiates into 

the shamanistic circle. He lives in the forest and 
carries a wooden wand bound with cedar bark 
which he waves, creating a singing noise. He also 
frequents woodland lakes and ponds. When a 
woman meets him she is said to menstruate, while 
a man develops a nose bleed. Also Kle-klati-e'il. 

Lamaria 

Tutelary goddess. Svan [Caucasus]. Particularly 
invoked by women as a hearth goddess and pro- 
tector of cows. Her name may have been derived 
under Christian influence. 

Lan Cai-he 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, the deity 
is of ambiguous sex, sometimes depicted as a girl. 



1 72 Lao-Tsze 



Once a mortal being who achieved immortality 
through perfect lifestyle. Attributes include flow- 
ers and a flute. 
See also BaXian. 

Lao-Tsze 

God. Taoist (Chinese). Also known as the Most 
High Prince Lao, he is one of the three holy San 

Ch'ing whose images stand in a Taoist sanctuary. 
The tutelary god of alchemists. He is the founder 
of Taoism who, according to tradition was born 
with full command of speech, and with white hair, 
under a plum tree. His sacred animal is the water 
buffalo. 

Lar Familiaris 

Ancestral spirit. Roman. A personal and vaguely 
defined deity brought into the house from the 
surrounding land. 

Lara See Larunda. 

Laran 

God of war. Etruscan. Depicted as a youth 
armed with a lance and helmet and dressed in a 
cape. 

Lares 

Hearth deities. Roman. The lares are a peculiarly 
Roman innovation. Tvo children, born of a liai- 
son between the god Mercury and a mute naiad, 
Lara, whose tongue had been cut out by Jupiter, 
became widely revered by Romans as house 
guardians. Iconographically they are depicted in 
the guise of monkeys covered with dog skins with 
a barking dog at their feet. 
See also Larunda, Mercurius. 



Larunda 

Chthonic goddess. Sabine. An early Italic earth 
mother who, in Roman times, according to some 
traditions, became the mother of the Lares. Also 
Lara (Roman). 

Lasya (dancing girl) 

Mother goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of the group of AsTAMATARAS (mothers). She is 
generally depicted dancing the lasya dance. 
Color: white. Attribute: a mirror. Also the generic 
name of a group of four goddesses, including 
GiTA, Mala, Nrtya and headed by Lasya. 

Latipan 

Creator god. Canaanite. 
See also IL. 

Lau 

Spirit beings. Andaman Islands [Sea of Bengal]. 
Generally invisible but perceived in human 
form and living in the jungles and the sea. 
When an Andaman islander dies he or she 
becomes a lau. 

Lauka Mate 

Goddess of agriculture. Pre-Christian Latvian. 
Worshiped in the fields at ploughing time. 

Laiikika-Devatas 

Generic name for a group of deities. Hindu. Gods 
known from local folklore as distinct from those 
of the Vedic texts. 

Lavema 

Chthonic underworld goddess. ItaUc. Propitiated 
by libations poured with the left hand. 



Lesa 1 73 



LEBIEN-POGIL (mvner of the earth) 

ORIGIN Yukaghir [southeastern Siberia]. Ani- 
mistic "owner" spirit. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 
until early twentieth century. 

SYNONYMS none known. 

center(s) of cult no fixed sanctuaries known. 
ART REFERENCES none known, but possibly the 

subject of anonymous wood carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES The Yukaghir (Jochelson). 

The chief protector of the earth. His subordi- 
nates are Yobin-Pogil, the owner of the forest; 
the owner of fire Lo'ciN-PO'GiL; the various 
protectors and keepers of animals (mo'yepul) 
and individual or group protectors (peju'lpe). 
The Yukaghir, as a hunting people, maintained a 
delicate and sensitive relationship with these 
owners. 

Legba 

God of fate. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. The 

youngest son of the supreme god LiSA and his 
consort, the moon goddess Mawu. He is also 
regarded as a messenger god, moving between 
Lisa and mankind on earth. 

Lei Kiing 

God of thunder. Taoist (Chinese). He heads the 
deities of the pantheon who are responsible for 
storm, vnnd and rain and is usually accompanied 
by Yu Shih, the god of rain. He appears in 
anthropomorphic form from about the beginning 
of the Christian era, depicted as a strong, youth- 
fial figure holding hammer and chisel. In drama 
his movements are punctuated by rumblings on 
strings and drums. Circa AD 1000 he becomes 
depicted as a bird-Uke being vnth a monkey face. 
The transition was probably influenced by the 
popularity of the Hindu god Garuda. 



Lelwani 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Hittite and Hur- 
rian. Associated with charnel houses and probably 
modeled on the Sumerian Ereskigal. 

Lendix-Tcux 

Tutelary god. Chilcotin Indian [British Columbia, 
Canada]. The so-called transformer known by 
different names among many Indian tribes. He is 
a wanderer who can change shape from human to 
animal and who educates the human race. He 
often appears in the guise of a raven, or as a dog, 
and has three sons. 

LENUS 

ORGIN Celtic (Continental European). God of 
healing. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 
until Christianization circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS lovantucarus; Lenus Mars (Romano- 
Celtic). 

center(s) OF CULT left bank of the Moselle 
opposite Trier; also at Chedworth (England) 
and Caerwent (Wales). 

ART REFERENCES sculptures, stone reliefs, votive 
plaques. 

LITERARY SOURCES Romano-Celtic inscriptions. 
A god of heahng worshiped by the Celtic tribe of 
Treveri but later adopted by the Romans. The 
T-ier sanctuary was a place of pilgrimage where 
large numbers of offerings were deposited, and 
carvings suggest that child patients were often 
present. Lenus's sanctuaries were usually associ- 
ated with springs and some, if not all, had an aba- 
ton or room for recuperation. 

Lesa 

Creator god. southeastern African. The name 
by which the supreme deity is knovra across a 



174 LETO 



wide area of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Equating to 
Lisa in regions of West Africa. Also regarded as 
a rain god. Probably strongly influenced by 
Islam and, to a lesser extent, by Christianity. 
Also Leza. 

LETO 

ORIGIN Greek. Mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 Bc; but 

probably earlier through to Christianization 

(circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Lato (Dorian); Latona (Roman). 
center(s) OF CULT Lycia and Phaistos, Crete. 
ART references sculptures and carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Iliad (Homer); Theogony 

(Hesiod). 

The word "Leto" is a local term for lady. The 
Greek goddess probably derives from an earlier 
western Asiatic model. She is the daughter of the 
Titans Koeos and Phoebe. Leto's main claim to 
celebrity in Greek reUgion is that she was impreg- 
nated by Zeus to become the mother of the 
deities Artemis and Apollo. She often tries to 
protect Artemis from the wrath of her step- 
mother, HeRx\. Also a guardian goddess of graves. 
Avery early bronze image of her was discovered, 
with those of Apollo and Artemis, at Dreros on 
Crete. In Lycia she was the principal goddess, 
while at Phaistos she was the center of an initia- 
tion myth. 

Leukothea 

Sea goddess. Greco-Roman. Popular around the 
coasts of the Mediterranean with fishing com- 
munities. A mermaid who was originally Ino, a 
mortal daughter of Kadmos. She was wet nurse 
to Dionysos (Bacchus), but became mad and 
threw herself in the sea with her son Melikertes. 
In another version of the story she was escaping 



the wrath of Athamas, King of Thebes. The gods 
elevated her to the status of goddess and her son 
became the god Palaemon. 

Lha 

Generic term for a deity. Buddhist-Lamaist 
[Tibet]. Also the title for a deity in the old Bon 
pantheon, equating to the Sanskrit term DEVA. 

Lha-Mo (the goddess) 

Goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. Coming 
from the old Bon pantheon and equating with 
the Hindu goddess Sridevi. 

Li Tie-guai 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, he was 
once a mortal being who achieved immortahty 
through his lifestyle. 

Attributes include a bat, a gourd and an iron 
crutch. 

See also Ba Xl\n. 

Lianja 

GoA. Nkundo [Democratic Republic of Congo, 
central Africa]. He became the subject of an epic 
known as Nsongo and hianja and is regarded today 
less as a god than a heroic figure, probably under 
the influence of Christianity. 

Libanza 

Creator god. Bangala [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. One of a pair of 
supreme deities with his sister/consort Nsongo. 
He lives at the bottom of the river Congo, trav- 
eling the waterways and bringing floods as pun- 
ishment as well as to generate prosperity. He is 



LiuPei 175 



regarded as being generally benevolent. Also 
Ibanza. 

Liber 

Chthonic fertility god. Italic. Originally associ- 
ated with husbandry and crops but then assimi- 
lated with DiONYSOS. The consort of Ceres and 
father of the goddess Libera. His festival, the 
Liberalia, was on March 17 when young men 
celebrated the arrival of manhood. 

Libera 

Chthonic goddess. ItaUc. The daughter of LiBER 
and Ceres. 

Liberalitas 

Minor god. Roman. Spirit of generosity, employed 

as a propaganda vehicle by the emperors. Wor- 
shiped particularly from the second century BC. 

Libertas 

Minor god(dess). Roman. Deity of constitutional 
government and the notion of freedom, known 
particularly from the second century EC. Attrib- 
utes include the scepter, lance and a special hat, 
the pileus, which emancipated slaves were permit- 
ted to wear as a sign of their Uberation. 

Libitina 

Chthonic goddess of death. Roman. Associated 
with funerals and interment. 

Lietna'irgiti (genuine dawn) 
Spirit of the dawn. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. 
One of four beings concerned with the dawn in 
different directions. 

See also Tne'sgan, Mratna'irgin and Na'- 
chitna'irgin. 



Lilith 

Goddess of desolation. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). She is perceived as a demonic figure who, in 
the epic legend of Gilgames and the Huluppu Tree 
takes up residence in Inana's holy tree growing 
on the banks of the Euphrates in Unug. When 
the hero Gilgames attacks Lilith she escapes into 
the desert wastes. 

Liluri 

Mountain goddess. Western Semitic (Syrian). 
The consort of the weather god Manuzi, her 
sacred animal is the bull. 



Linga 

Symbol representing a god. Hindu. The phallic 
form of Siva. 

Lir 

God. Celtic (Irish). The father of the sea god 

Manannan, the consort of Aobh and later of her 
sister Aoife. He had four children by Aobh: Aed, 
Conn, Fiachra and Fionnuala. Out of jealousy 
Aoife turned the four into swans and set father 
and children against one another. 

Lisa 

Creator god. Fon and others [Benin, West 
Africa] . Probably the equivalent of Lesa in parts 
of East Africa. The supreme deity, whose more or 
less monotheistic role may have been influenced 
by the spread of Islam and Christianity. 

Liu Pei 

God. Taoist (Chinese). The third member of a 
trio of deities with KUAN Tl and Chang Fei. He 
is the embodiment of the imperial ideal and he 



176 Llew Llaw Gyffes 



carries the seal of heaven's authority. He is con- 
sidered to be humane and moderate. In art he 
usually takes a central position between Chang 
Fei on his left and Kuan Ti on his right. 

Llew Llaw Gyffes 

God. Celtic (Welsh). The counterpart of the Irish 

god Lug. The son of Arianrhod, he was raised 
by GwYDiON. The heroic figure of Lancelot may 
be derived from him. 

Loa 

Spirit beings. Puerto Rico and Haiti. The gods of 
the voodoo cult who were originally imported by 
slaves from West Africa. An amotmt of Christian 
influence is present in their makeup. 

Loba 

Sun god. Duala [Cameroon, West Africa]. Local 
people pray to this deity after sunset to ensure 
that he will appear again the following morning. 

Locana (the eye) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). The Sakti of a 
DHYANIBUDDHA (spiritual meditation buddha), 
generally Aksobhya or VAlROCANA. Color: blue 
or white. Attributes: cup, prayer wheel and lotus 
with one or more staves. Also Buddhalocana. 

Lo'cin-coro'mo 

Hearth spirit. Yukaghir [southeastern Siberia]. 
The guardian of the household who migrates 
with the family. Also Lo'cil, Yegi'le. 

Lo'cin-po'gil 

Fire spirit. Yukaghir [southeastern Siberia]. One 
of the "owners," the apotheosis of fire. 



Lodur 

Creator god. Germanic. Mentioned in passing in 
the creation mythology as being one of a trio of 
deities, with Odin and HOENIR, who engendered 
mankind. 
See also Othin. 

Logos 

Primordial spirit of reason. Greek. A concept pro- 
moted by the Stoics, who perceived Logos as the 
mind of JXJPITER, but more generally recognized 
as the divine essence from which all deities arise. 
Philo of Alexandria apportioned human charac- 
teristics to Logos. The Gnostic Christian, Valenti- 
nus, identified Logos as the word coming from the 
mind of the father. The Christian father Clement 
of Alexandria claimed it to be the first principle of 
the universe, while Origen perceived it as the prin- 
ciple embodied in the flesh by Jesus Christ. 

Lokapala (protectors of the world) 
Guardians of the four directions. Hindu and 
Buddhist. Often placed in pairs at the entrance 
to tombs. 

Lokesvara (lord of the world) 
Generic name for a group of deities. Buddhist. 
These are thought to be a syncretization of Hindu 
and Buddhist deities and include such gods as 

Siva, Visnu and others which have come to 
be defined as forms of a primeval buddha or 
DHYANIBUDDHA. The lokesvara are usually repre- 
sented by a small figure, identified as Adibud- 
DHA or Amitabha, which rests on the head of the 
main statue. Also a group name for the many 
forms of the Buddhist deity AVALOKITESVARA. 

LOKI 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). Ambivalent character 
well represented in mythology. 



LuPan 177 



KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP ViMng period (circa 
AD 700) until Christianization (circa AD 1 ICQ). 
SYNONYMS Lopt. 

center(s) OF CULT none evidenced and proba- 
bly Loki was not worshiped as the other Asgard 

deities. 

ART REFERENCES probably the subject of anony- 
mous carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo). 

Loki is a mischievous, Machiavellian, humor- 
ous, sometimes sinister character. Snorri 
describes him as being "pleasing and handsome 
in appearance, evil in character, very capricious 
in behavior." He is the "poor relation" among 
the gods who has strong affinities with the 
giants, particularly at Ragnarok (doom) when 
he steers their ship, and whose loyalties are 
always suspect. Said to be the son of the giant 
Farbauti. He is also a scandal-monger. He was 
indirectly responsible for the death of Balder 
(directly so according to Snorri) and fought 
with Helmdall. Sometimes he appears as a 
hero rescuing gods from various predicaments 
through cunning. He also stands for evil, 
though less often, and was compared strongly 
by Christian times with the Devil. Able to 
change shape at will — said at various times to 
have impersonated a mare, flea, fly, falcon, seal 
and an old crone. As a mare he gave birth to 
Othin's horse Sleipnir and he also allegedly 
sired the world serpent, the mistress of the 
netherworld, Hel, and the wolf Fenrir which 
will devour the sun at Ragnarok. 

One of his prominent attributes, said to 
come from antiquity, is that of accomplished 
thief, stealing at various times Freyja's neck- 
lace, Thor's belt and iron gloves, and the 
apples of youth. There is little to support 
the notion of Loki (Wagnerian: Loge) as a 
fire god other than similarity of name — logi, 
meaning fire. 



Loko 

God of trees. Fon [Benin, West Africa]. The 
brother of the hearth goddess Ayaba. Invoked 
particularly by herbalists before obtaining medi- 
cines from the bark and leaves of forest trees. 

Lome 

Goddess of peace. Ngbandi [Democratic Repub- 
lic of Congo, central Africa] . One of seven deities 
invoked at sunrise each day. 

Lono (sound) 

Primordial being. Polynesian [Hawaii]. An aspect 
of a tripartite god which also includes Kane, the 
light, and Ku, stability. They first existed in chaos 
and night which they broke into pieces, allowing 
Ught to come in. Also Ono (Marquesas Islands). 

Lodiur 

God of physical senses. Nordic (Icelandic). 

According to a brief mention in the Voluspa 
(Poetic Edda) the god concerned with physical 
being i.e. sight, hearing and speech. According to 
some authors he may be a hypostasis of the god 
Othin. Lothur is also known in northern Ger- 
manic tradition. Also LoDUR. 

Lu Dong-bin 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, he was once 
a mortal being who achieved immortality through 
his hfestyle. The totelary god of barbers. Attributes 
include a sword with which he conquers demons. 
See also BaXian. 

Lu Pan 

God of artisans. Chinese. The deity concerned 
with builders, bricklayers, housepainters and 



178 Lubanga 



carpenters. He is particularly revered in Hong 
Kong. According to tradition he was born in 606 
BC in the kingdom of Lu, where he became a 
skilled carpenter. He turned into a recluse on 
the Li Shan mountain, where he perfected his 
skills. He is said to have constructed the palace 
of the queen of the western heaven. Because of 
his powers he was murdered. He is also an 
invoker of harmonious relationships. His festival 
takes place on the thirteenth day of the sixth 
month, when the rains are due. Attributes 
include a set square and carpenter's plane. He is 
also depicted with an ax, the symbol of a mar- 
riage go-between. 

Lubanga 

God of health. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. 
He is invoked by offerings of beer and his sanc- 
tuaries are surrounded by rows of trees. 

Lubangala 

Rainbow god. Bakongo [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa] . The chief adversary of the 
storm god. He stills the thunder and makes his 
appearance in the sky. Considered to be the 
guardian of the earth and sea, including the vil- 
lage and its community. 

Lucina 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. Concerned with 
bringing the child into the light. Usually associ- 
ated with Candelifera and Carmentes. 

LUG (possibly lynx) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Lord of skills. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP early times until 

Christianization circa AD 400 or later. 
SYNONYMS Lugh, Lamfhada. 



center(s) of cult Lugudunum (modern 
Lyons) and elsewhere in Continental Europe; 
possibly brought to Ireland in the first century 
BC by settlers from Gaul. 

ART references various stone carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of Kings 

The texts infer that Lug was a latecomer to the 
Irish pantheon, a tribal god who was particularly 
skilled in the use of a massive spear and a sling 
both of which possessed invincible magic proper- 
ties. One of his epithets is lamfhada — ^"of the long 
arm." A young and apparently more attractive 
deity than the Dagda. The main festival in his 
honor seems to have been Lugnasad on August 1 , a 
particularly agrarian celebration in a country which 
otherwise tended to observe pastoral calendar 
dates, suggesting again that Lug was a later arrival 
who possibly superseded an arcane tribal god Tro- 
GRAIN. An alternative name for the August festival 
was Bron Trograin (Rage of Trograin). It is inferred 
that, like many Celtic deities. Lug was capable of 
changing shape, hence the possible translation of 
the name as lynx. There appear to be strong 
Romano-Celtic associations in Continental 
Europe and Britain with place names such as 
Lugudunum [Lyons] and LuguvaUum [Carlisle]. 

Lugal-Irra 

Chthonic underworld god. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian). Probably a 
minor variation of Erra, the Babylonian plague 
god. The prefix Lugal means "lord." Often cou- 
pled with Mes lam taea, god of war. 

Lulal 

God of uncertain status. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian-Akkadian). Mentioned as liv- 
ing in Badtfbira in the Sumerian text Descent of 
Inana. Also Unked with a god Latarak. 



Lupercus 1 79 



Luna 

Moon goddess. Roman. She derives from the 
Greek model of Selene, but is also comparable 
with Hekate. She enjoyed a major temple on the 
Aventine Hill in Rome. 

Lunang 

River goddess. Kafir [Afghanistan — Hindukush]. 
The patron goddess of the Prasun river, Lunang 



is perceived as a young and capricious girl, reflect- 
ing the turbulent moods of the river. She rules 
over the watermills. 

Lupercus 

God of wolves. Roman. Celebrated in the festival 
of Lupercalia on February 15. 



M 



Ma 

Fertility and vegetation goddess. Cappadocian 
(Anatolia) [Turkey]. The tutelary goddess of Pon- 
tic Comana, she was served by votary priestesses 
acting as sacred prostitutes, and biennial festivals 
were celebrated in her honor. Gradually she took 
on an added role as a warrior goddess with solar 
connotations and ultimately became syncretized 
with the Roman goddess Bellona. On coins of 
the Comana region she is depicted with the radi- 
ate head of a solar deity carrying weapons and a 
shield. 

Ma Kiela 

Female spirit being. Bakongo [Democratic 
Republic of Congo, central Africa]. The deified 
head of a band of mortal women who died specif- 
ically from knife wounds. 

Maat 

Minor goddess of cosmic order. Egyptian. Fpit- 
omizing the harmonious laws of the cosmic order. 
She is recognized from the middle of the third 
millennium, and probably earlier, closely associ- 
ated with the creator deities and particularly the 
sun god. In later times she was described as the 
"daughter of Re." Her only known sanctuary is in 



the complex of Karnak at Thebes. Maat is 
depicted either in human form wearing an ostrich 
plume on her head or by an ostrich feather alone. 
The rulers of Egypt believed that they governed 
under her aegis and frequently had themselves 
described as "beloved of Maat." Maat was also 
integral to the success of a soul passing through 
the Hall of the Tvo Truths, where the heart was 
weighed, to reach paradise. 

Mabon (son) 

God of youth. Celtic (Welsh). The son of an 
earthly mother, MoDRON. According to legend he 
was abducted when three days old. Also a god of 
hunters and fishermen. He is known particularly 
from northwestern Britain and his cult extends 
along the region of Hadrian's Wall. Known from 
many Romano-Celtic inscriptions and syncretized 
with the Romano-Greek god APOLLO. 

Macha 

Fertility goddess. Celtic (Irish). One of the aspects 
of the MORRIGAN (a trio of warrior goddesses with 
strong sexual connotations), she appears as the 
consort of Nemed and of Crunnchu. She is also a 
warrior goddess who influences the outcome of 
batde by magical devices. She can change shape 



ISO 



Maha-Ganapati 181 



from girl to hag and is generally dressed in red. 
She is depicted with red hair. She appears thus to 
the Irish hero, Cu Chulainn, before the Battle of 
Moytura when she suddenly changes herself into 
a crow, the harbinger of death. Heads of slaugh- 
tered soldiers were fixed on the so-called Pole of 
Macha, and the ancient reUgious center of Emain 
Macha in Ulster is named after her. 
See also Banbha, Eriu and Fodla. 

Madhukara (honey maker) 
God. Buddhist. Derived from a Hindu deity and 
equating with Kama. He rides in a chariot drawn 
by parrots. Color: white. Attributes: arrow, ban- 
ner, bow and wine glass. 

Maeve 

Mother goddess. Celtic (Irish). The mythical 
Queen of Connaught. According to tradition her 
consort is AiliU and she represents the "Sover- 
eignty of Ireland" at Connaught. She is thus the 
apotheosis of the land which is sacred. 

Mafdet 

Minor goddess. Egyptian. She acts as a guardian 
against snakes and scorpions. She is depicted in 
the form of a panther, often with the instrument 
of an executioner. 

Magha 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 

Puranic). A benevolent naksatra; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Mah 

Moon god. Persian [Iran]. The progenitor of the 
cow, typically depicted with the tips of a sickle 
moon projecting from his shoulders. 



Mahabala (very strong) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A fearsome emana- 
tion of Amitabha and a dikpala (guardian) of the 
northwestern quarter. Color: red. Attributes: 
jewel, snakes, sword, tiger skin, trident and white 
fly whisk. Three-headed. 

Mahabja 

Snake god. Hindu (Puranic). One of a group of 
seven Mahanagas. 

Mahacinatara (Tara of Tibet) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana) and Lamaist 
[Tibet]. An emanation of Aksobhya and, in 
Lamaism, a fearsome form of the Vajrayana god- 
dess, Ekajata, who may be depicted with up to 
twelve heads and twenty-four hands. She stands 
upon a corpse. Attributes: arrow, ax, blue lotus, 
bow, cup, image of Aksobhya on crown, knife, 
skull, snake, staff, sword, tiger skin and trident. 
Three-eyed. 

Mahadeva (mighty god) 
God. Hindu (Puranic). An important epithet of 
Siva with three heads (two male, one female) 
signifying the three aspects — Aghora (right), 
Saumya (center) and Sakti (left). Attributes: ax, 
bell, hook, mirror, noose, staff, sword, tree and 
trident. Also identified as a manifestation of Siva 
and one of the Ekadasarudras (eleven forms of 
Rudra). In northern India among tribes includ- 
ing the Gonds, the expression Mahadeo (great 
god) is directed toward Siva as the supreme deity. 

Maha-Ganapati 

Elephant god. Hindu (Puranic). This form of 
the god Ganesa possesses ten arms instead of the 
more normal four and may have a goddess, 
BUDDHI or SiDDHi, seated on the knee. 



182 Mahakala 



Mahakala (the great death) 

1 . Gk)d. Hindu (Puranic). A violent aspect of SiVA. 
His Sakti is Mahakah. Rides upon a lion. Color: 
black. Attributes: five arrows, ax, Brahma-egg, club, 
cup, rosary of skulls, staff and trident. Three-eyed. 
Also considered to be a form of the god Bhairava 
in which context he is a guardian of the faith. 

2. Guardian god of tents and science. Buddhist- 
Lamaist [Tibet]. Derived from the Hindu god 
Siva and an emanation of the five Dhyanibud- 
DHAS. Also one of a group of Dharmapalas with 
terrible appearance and royal attire. A deity of 
riches. He treads on the god Vinayaka, or on a 
man, a corpse, or on two elephant-headed men. 
Color: black, blue or white. Attributes: mainly 
elephant skin, prayer wheel and trident, but may 
hold various other objects. 

Mahakali 

1. Goddess of learning. Jain [India]. One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

2. Form of the goddess Kali. Hindu. Also a 
Sakti of Mahakala. Attributes: conch, cup, 
headdress, hook, knife, noose, rosary of skulls, 
staff, sword, waterjar and wheel. 

Mahakapi (great ape) 

God. Buddhist. Epithet of the Buddha in a pre- 
vious incarnation, appearing as an ape. 

Mahamanasika (great-minded) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [[ndia] . One of sixteen 

ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Mahamantranusarini (following the great 
sacred text) 

Guardian goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
five Maharaksas (protectresses) who are thought 



to be personifications of amulets or mantras. Also 
an emanation of the dhyanibuddha Ratnasamb- 
hava, alternatively of Aksobhya. She is a guardian 
of the west, south and eastern quarters according to 
separate traditions. Color: blue, black, green, white 
or red. Attributes: most commonly noose and staff. 
From four to twelve arms; may be three-headed. 

Mahamataras 

Group of goddesses. Hindu. Personifications of 
the Sakti of the god Siva. 

Mahamayuri (great daughter of the peacock) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An extremely 
popular deity and an emanation of Amoghasid- 
dhi. a female bodhisattva or te^^^^-designate. 
Also one of a group of five MAHARAKSAS (protec- 
tresses) who are thought to be personifications of 
amulets or mantras. Color: green, red or yellow. 
Attributes: alms bowl, arrow, banner, bow, fly 
whisk, image of Amoghasiddhi on crown, jewel, 
mendicant, peacock feather, prayer wheel, sword 
and water jar. Three-eyed and may occasionally 
appear three- or four-headed. 

Mahanaga 

Snake god. Hindu. A group of seven deities iden- 
tical vnth a group of seven nagadevas. 

Mahapadma (great lotus) 
Snake god. Hindu. Attributes: rosary and water- 
jar. Three-eyed. 

Mahaparinirvanamurti 

God. Buddhist. The depiction of the BUDDHA 
lying in nirvana (paradise). 



Mahasthama(prapta) 1 83 



Mahaprabhu 

Tutelary god. Orissa [India]. The local supreme 
deity of the Bondo tribe. 

Mahapratisara (great protectress) 
Guardian goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
five Maharaksas (protectresses) who are thought 
to be personifications of amulets or mantras. A 
guardian of the central or southern direction. 
Also an emanation of the dhyanibuddha Rat- 
NASAMBHAVA. Color: yellow. Attributes: arrow, ax, 
banner, bow, conch, image of Ratnasambhava on 
crown, jewel, noose, parasol, prayer wheel, reli- 
quary, sword, staff and trident. Three-headed and 
three-eyed. 

Mahapratyangira (ff-eat goddess whose 

speech is directed westwards) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
the DHYANIBUDDHA AksoBHYA. Color: blue. 
Attributes: hook, image of Aksobhya on crown, 
noose, red lotus, sword and trident. 

Maharaksa (great protectress) 
Group of guardian goddesses. Buddhist. Person- 
ifications of amulets or mantras. Common attrib- 
ute: a parasol. 

Maharatri (the great night) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Associated 

with Kali and Kaiwala. 

Mahasahaspratnardani (the thousandfold 
destroyer) 

Goddess. Buddhist. An emanation of Vairocana, 
and one of the MAHARAKSAS. Color: white. 



Attributes: particularly noose, prayer wheel and 
sword, but also depicted with other objects 
including image of Vairocana on crown. May be 
four-headed. 

Maha-Sarasvati 

1. Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). An emanation of 
L.^KSMi. Attributes: book, hook, lute and rosary. 

2 . Goddess. Buddhist. A variety of Sarasvati. 
Depicted upon a lotus. Color: white. Attributes: 
garland of pearls and white lotus. 

Mahasitavati (ff-eat cold one) 

Guardian goddess. Buddhist. One of a group 

of five Maharaksas (protectresses) who are 
thought to be personifications of amulets or 
mantras. Also an emanation of the dhyanibud- 
dha Amitabha (or sometimes Ratnasamb- 
hava). A guardian of the north or west quarter. 
Color: red, yellow or green. Attributes: arrow, 
ax, banner, book, bow, bowl, image of Amitabha 
on the crown, lotus, noose, peacock feather, 
staff, sword and trident. Three-eyed and may be 
three-headed. 

Mahasri-Tars (of great beauty) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Amoghasiddhi. Depicted seated upon a moon. 
Color: green. Attributes: image of Amoghasiddhi 
and lotuses. 

Mahasthama(prapta) (he who has attained 

great power) 
God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A dhyanihodhisattva 
who personifies great wisdom. Color: white or 
yellow. Attributes: lotus, six lotuses and sword. 
(May have no attributes present.) 



I 84 Mahavidya 



Mahavidya 

Collective name of a group of goddesses. Bud- 
dhist (Mahayana). Ten personifications of Sakti 
as the femaleness of SlVA, associated with the pos- 
session of knowledge. 

Mahayasa (most glorious) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Maheo {all-spirit) 

Creator god. Cheyenne [USA]. He first lived in 
the void and then created the great primordial 
water of life. He made the earth from a ball of 
mud and engendered mankind from one of his 
ribs which he implanted in earth woman (Chris- 
tian influence has probably been exerted here). 

Mahes 

Sun god. Egyptian. An ancient deity worshiped 

chiefly in the region of the Nile delta and repre- 
senting the destructive power of the sun's heat. 
Depicted in the form of a lion. Also Miysis 
(Greek). 

Mahesvari 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who in later Hinduism became one of a 
group of seven Mataras regarded as of evil 
intent. Also one of eight ASTAMATARAS. In another 
grouping one of a group of nine Navasaktis who, 
in southern India, rank higher than the Sapta- 
MATARAS. Attributes: antelope, arrow, ax, bow, 
club, drum, prayer wheel, staff and trident. 

Mahi (earth) 

Minor goddess of sacrifice. Hindu (Vedic). She is 
invoked to appear on the sacrificial field before a 



ritual, and is identified with the act of prayer. 
Usually associated with the goddess Sarasvati. 

Mahisa (buffalo) 

Demonic god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 
Depicted most fi-equentiy in the form of a buffalo, 
but he also confounds the gods by changing him- 
self into many other animal guises. He is eventu- 
ally slain by the goddess Devi in the form of 
Mahisasuramardini. 

Mahisasurainardini (slayer of the buffalo 
demon) 

Eorm of the goddess Devi. Hindu (Puranic). 
Appearing from the fourth century AD onward, 
this goddess is a DURGA form of Devi. She pos- 
sesses up to twelve arms holding an assortment of 
weapons and may be seated on a lion. According 
to legend, the form arose in response to the threat 
from the demonic Mahisa who was eventually 
slain by the goddess Devi with his own sword. 
Attributes: ax, banner, bell, bow, club, conch, 
drum, hook, Uzard, mirror, noose, prayer wheel, 
shield, sword, staff and trident. Three-eyed. 

Mahodadhi (the great ocean) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Mahrem 

Head of pantheon. Axumite (ancient Ethiopic 

kingdom). A warrior deity after whom the 
Axumite kings titled themselves "sons of 
Mahrem." 

Mahuikez 

Eire god. Polynesian. Identified with earthquakes 

and possibly parallehng TouiA Eatuna (iron 
stone goddess) in Tbngan belief. 



Malamanganga'e 1 85 



Maia 

Chthonic or earth goddess. Greco-Roman. Orig- 
inally, in pre-Homeric times, a mountain spirit 
who subsequently became a minor consort of 
Zeus. The Romans worshiped her as an obscure 
goddess of the plains who became briefly a con- 
sort of Jupiter, and they perceived her as the 
mother of the messenger god Mercury. Her cult 
was associated with that of VULCANUS. Possibly 
the origin of the name of the month of May. 
See also Mercurius. 

MAITREYA (the loving one) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India] . Bodhisattva or buddha- 
designate. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC tO 

present. 
SYNONYMS none. 
center(s) of cult pan-Asiatic. 
ART REFERENCES metal and stone sculptures, 

paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamah and Tantric 
ritual texts. 

One of the most popular deities of the Mahayana 
and Hinayana sects of Buddhism. He originates 
from the yellow mantra syllable MAIM in the 
Tbsita heaven. He is also regarded as a nianusi- 
buddha or futore human buddha. He equates with 
Kalkin in Hinduism and is perceived as a happy, 
rubicund figure of benevolent character. He has 
no Sakti and his attendant animal is a lion. Color: 
gold or yellow. Attributes: five Dhyanibuddhas, 
flower, prayer wheel, shrine (in the hair) and 
water jar. May be three-eyed or three-headed. He 
may also be identified symbolically by white blos- 
soms. Also Mi-LO Fo (Chinese). 

Majas Gars 

Household god. Pre-Christian Latvian. Invoked 

until very recent times in country districts as a deity 
who would bring prosperity to the femily home. 



Maju 

God. Basque [Pyrenean region]. The consort of 
the mother goddess Mari, he appears in the guise 
of a serpent. 

Make Make 

Sea god. Polynesian [Easter Island]. The tutelary 
deity of the Easter Islanders, he created mankind 
and animals. His sacred animal is the sea swallow 
and the huge anthropomorphic stone figures 
which characterize the island's archaeology form 
part of his cult. 

Mai 

Creator god. Early Dravidian (Tamil). Probably 
equating with a syncretization of ViSNU and 
Krsna. The name implies a deity of great stature. 
In Sangam texts, his face is like the moon, his 
eyes are lotoses and his CakraIs the beams of the 
sun. Also TiRUMAL. 



Mala (garland) 

Mother goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of a group of Astamatara deities. Color: red or 
yellow. Attributes: garland of forest flowers, or of 
jewels. 

Malakbel 

Vegetation god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Mentioned as the brother of Aglibol on an 
inscription at Palmyra dated to AD 132. 

Malamanganga'e (light eastward) 
Creator being. Polynesian. One of the two per- 
sonifications of light who, with Malamangan- 
GAIFO, engendered Lupe, the dove, whose consort 
is rock. From these primordial principles came 



I 86 Malamangangaifo 



several generations of supernatural beings whose 
descendants engendered mankind. 

Malamangangaifo Qight westward) 
Creator being. Polynesian. 
See also Malamanganga'e. 

Malhal Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of seven Saktis who in later Hinduism became 
regarded as Saptaaiataras (mothers) of evil 
intent. Particularly known in Bengal as a bringer 
of disease. 

Malik (king) 

Tutelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Known from inscriptions. 

Mam 

God of evil. Mayan (Yucatec, classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. A much- feared deity who lives 
beneath the earth and only emerges in times of 
crisis. Depicted in the form of a flat, life-sized 
piece of wood dressed as a scarecrow and set upon 
a stool. He is offered food and drink during 
Uayeb, the period of five unlucky days at the end 
of the year, after which the figure is undressed and 
unceremoniously thrown away. During Uayeb 
devotees fast and refer to the god as "grandfather." 

Mama See Mami. 

Mama Qoca (mother sea) 
Goddess of the ocean. Inca (pre-Columbian 
South America) [Peru, etc]. Originally a pre-Inca 
goddess of coastal regions who retained her influ- 



ence under Inca rule. Invoked by all Indians who 
gain their livelihood from the sea. Today proba- 
bly syncretized largely with the Christian Virgin 
Mary. Also Mama Cocha. 

Mamaki (greedy) 

Goddess. Buddhist. The Sakti of Ratnasambhava 
or Aksobhya. Also a bodhisattva or future bud- 
dha, originating from the blue mantra MAM. 
Color: yellow or blue. Attributes: cup, flowers, 
jewel, knife and staff. 

Mama-Kilya (mother moon) 
Moon goddess. Inca (pre-Columbian South 
America) [Peru, etc]. The consort of the sun god 
Inti, she is important in the calculation of time 
and regulating the Inca festival calendar. The 
Indians consider that an eclipse of the moon is a 
time of great danger, caused by a mountain Hon or 
snake eating the moon, and perform a ritual mak- 
ing as much noise as possible to frighten the pred- 
ator off. 

Mami 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian- Akkadian). Identified in thtAtrahasis 
texts and other creation legends and probably 
synonymous with NlNHURSAGx\. She was involved 
in the creation of mankind from clay and blood. 
The name almost certainly came into use because 
it is the first word that a child formulates. Also 
Mama; Mammitum. 

Mamitu 

Goddess of oaths and treaties. Mesopotamian 
(Babylonian-Akkadian). One of the consorts of 
Nergal and subsequentiy identified as a chthonic 
underworld deity. Also Mammetu. 



Mandulis 1 87 



Mamlambo 

River goddess. Zulu [Natal, South Africa] . Con- 
sidered to control all the rivers running through 
Natal. Also a patron of beer-makers, who are usu- 
ally women. 

Manatinan (Mac Lir) 

Sea god. Celtic (Irish and British). Extensively 
worshiped. From the name is derived the "Isle 
of Man" where, according to tradition, the god 
is buried. He rules the "Isle of the Blessed" 
and determines the weather at sea. Father of 
the Irish hero Mongan. Also Manawyddaw 
(Welsh). 

Manasa 

Snake goddess. Hindu. The daughter of 
Kasyapa and Kadru and the sister of the lord of 
serpents, Vasuki. She is also a gracious aspect of 
Parvati. Known particuarly from Bihar, Bengal 
and Assam. She stands upon, or is shaded by, a 
seven-headed snake. Attributes: snake and 
water jar. 

Manasi (spiritual) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [India] . One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVI headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Manat (fate) 

Goddess. Pre-Islamic Arabian. One of the so- 
called Daughters of Allah, she is primarily iden- 
tified with a shrine (lost) between Mecca and 
Medina. 

Alanavi (descended from Manu) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [India]. One of sixteen 

ViDYADEVI headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 



Manawat 

Goddess of destiny. Western Semitic 
(Nabataean). Mentioned in a large number of 
inscriptions. 

Manawyddan 

Sea god. Celtic (Welsh). The counterpart of the 
Irish god Manannan. He is the consort of 
Rhiannon and is regarded as a skilled craftsman. 

sMan-Bla (physician) 

God. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One of the more 
popular m&^icm&-buddhas and possibly derived 
from Persian Ught-religion. Attributes: fruit and 
waterjar. 

Mandah 

Collective name of gods. Pre-Islamic Arabian. 
Guardian deities, whose chief responsibility is 
irrigation. 

Mandanu 

God of divine judgment. Mesopotamian (Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). Known from the neo-Baby- 
lonian period. 

Mandhata (thoughtful) 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Minor avatara of 

ViSNU. One of the "lords of the universe." 

Mandulis [Greek] 

Sun god. Nubian. Mandulis was chiefly revered in 
a Greco-Roman cult. His most important sanc- 
tuary was at Kalabsha, close to the Aswan High 
Dam, and now relocated. A sanctuary was also 
constructed on the Greek island of Philae where 



I 88 Manes 



he seems to have enjoyed an association widi die 
goddess Isis. Also Merwel (Egj^tian). 

Manes 

Hearth deities. Roman. Technically souls sepa- 
rated from the body, these objects of ancestor 
worship became classed as guardian divinities in 
Roman households. Celebrated in the feast of 
Parentalia. Origin of the title on graves: Dis 
Manibus. 

Mangala (auspicious) 

1. Astral god. Hindu. Personification of the 
planet Mars. Depicted by a chariot drawn by 
eight red fire-horses. According to some authors 
Mangala is a form of the god SrvA in his cruel 
aspect. Attributes: club and lotus. Three-eyed. 

2. Goddess. A form of Parvati. She rides upon a 
Hon and may bear up to ten arms, carrying arrow, 
mirror, moon disc, rosary, shield and sword. 
Three-eyed. 

Mani 

Moon god. Germanic and Nordic (Icelandic). He 
guides the chariot of the moon through the night 
sky and is involved in the downfall of the world at 
Ragnarok. 

Manidhara (holding a gem) 

Minor god. Buddhist (Mahayana). An attendant 

of Sadaksari. Attributes: jewel and lotus. 

Manito 

Creator being. Ojibwa [Canada]. One of a num- 
ber of very powerful beings all identified by the 
same tide. These deities include the four winds, 
the thunderbirds, the underwater manitos and 



the heroic god Nanabozho. They are the 
ultimate source of existence and are essential to 
the continuance of life. It is necessary for 
mankind to maintain close communication with 
them. 

Manitu 

Creator god. Algonquin Indian [USA] . A vaguely 
defined being who controls all things and imparts 
knowledge to the tribe. He may be identified as 
the great spirit in the sky. Probably similar to 
Mantto. 

Manjughosa (siveet sounding) 

God. Buddhist. P'orm of the god Manjusri and 

an emanation of Aksobhya. Attended by a lion. 

Color: white or gold. Attributes: arrow, bell, blue 

lotus, book, bow, image of Aksobhya, staff and 

sword. 



MANJUSRI (phasing splendor) 

ORiGm Buddhist [India]. Bodhisattva or buddha- 

designate, also god of wisdom. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 EC until 

present. 

SYNONYMS large number of forms. 
center(s) of cult pan-Asiatic 
ART REFERENCES metal and stone sculptures, 
paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamda and Tantric 
ritual texts. 

An important and popular deity throughout all 
sects of Buddhism. He is the son of either 
Amitabha or Aksobhya and is closely Unked with 
the goddess Prajnaparamita who is seen as the 
personification of a holy text which Manjusri 
habitually carries, the pustaka. His attendant ani- 
mal is the tiger or the lion. Color: black, white. 



MARDUK 189 



red or yellow. Attributes: chiefly book and sword, 
but also arrow, blue lotus and bow. May be three- 
headed. 

Manmatha 

Form of the god of carnal love. Dravidian (Tamil). 
A local southern Indian form of Kama with sim- 
ilar attributes and genealogy, named in Sangam 
literature. 

Manohel-Tohel 

Creator god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The deity concerned specifically 
with the creation of mankind, giving mortals 
body and soul and leading them from the caves 
into the light. 

Manu 

Primordial creator god. Hindu (Vedic). The 
son(s) of SURYA. The name given to the fourteen 
original progenitors of mankind during 
the mythical or heroic ages. According to tradi- 
tion, the consort of Manu is Ida, who was 
engendered from milk and butter offered to 
Siva as a propitiation. 

Manungal 

Chthonic underworld god. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian). A minor 
deity, the consort of BiRDU. 

Maponos 

Tribal deity. Celtic (British and Continental 
European). A youthful god worshiped by 
the Brigantes tribe in Britain and probably 
assimilated with Apollo in the Romano-Celtic 
period. 



Mara (the destroyer) 

1. God. Buddhist. An evil deity who puts obsta- 
cles in the way of the Buddha. The equal of the 
Hindu god Kama. In Buddhist tradition, the 
Hindu gods INDRA, BRAHMA, ViSNU and SiVA are 
maras who become vanquished by various Bud- 
dhist deities. Attributes: fish standard. 

2. God. Hindu. An epithet of Kama(deva). 

Marama 

Moon goddess. Polynesian (Maori). She equates 
with the Tahitian goddess Hina, daughter of 
Tangaroa. Tradition has it that her body wastes 
away with each lunar cycle but is restored when 
she bathes in the sea from which all life springs. 

Maramalik 

Chthonic underworld god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. 
No details known. 

MARDUK 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Babylonian) [Iraq]. Cre- 
ator and national god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2000 BC, or 
earlier, to circa 200 BC. 

SYNONYMS Lugal-dimmer-an-ki-a (divine king of 
heaven and earth); Asalluhe; Merodach 
(Hebrew). At least fifty other divine names, 
according to the Babylonian creation epic. 

center(s) OF CULT Babylon. 

ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae, glyptics, 
etc. 

literary sources cuneiform texts, particularly 
the Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elis. 

Marduk is the chief deity of Babylonia and tute- 
lary god of the city of Babylon though perhaps 
derived, in part, from a Sumerian model. His 
parents are Enki and Damgalnuna or Ea and 



190 Mari(l) 



Damkina. His consort is the goddess Zarpan- 
ITU(m) with whom his marriage was re-enacted 
in an annual New Year festival. In the Old Baby- 
lonian period he was comparatively insignificant, 
but in subsequent times he rose to prominence, 
taking over the role of An and replacing Enlil. 
At the time of the Assyrian takeover, Assyrian 
scribes replaced Marduk with ASSUR. 

In the mythology of the creation epic, Marduk 
is engaged in a primordial cosmic battle with TlA- 
MAT, the power of the ocean. He kills her, sphtting 
her in half and using parts of her corpse to make 
heaven and earth. Tiamat fought him in revenge 
for the death of APSU, the deep, and is said to have 
created an exact repUca of Apsu, the Esarra. 

The symbol of Marduk is the triangular device 
used in Mesopotamia as an agricultural tool and 
called a mar. 

The main Marduk festival was the akitu, also 
performed at New Year, which continued up to as 
late as 200 BC. It was performed by the Persian 
ruler Cambyses circa 538 BC. Marduk's sanctuary 
in Babylon is the Esagila and the E-temen-anki 
ziggurat. 

Man (1) {killing) 

1 . Deification of literature. Buddhist. One of a 
group of Dharanis. Color: reddish white. Attrib- 
utes: needle, thread and staff 

2. Mother goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India]. 

See also Mari Mai. 

Man (2) (queen) 

Supreme mother goddess. Basque [Pyrenean 
region]. She is both a sky and chthonic goddess 
and her consort is Maju. She is depicted dressed 
in rich clothing and jewels. Her home is within 
the earth but she also rides through the air in a 
chariot pulled by four horses or carried by a ram. 



She may breathe fire and is symboUzed by the 
rainbow. When she and her consort meet, a thun- 
derstorm forms. Her symbol is a sickle which is 
still employed as a device to ward off evil. 

Mari Mai (mother death) 

Plague goddess. Hindu. The sister of SiTALA, 

associated with cholera. Her Tamil counterpart is 

Mariyamman. 

Marici (shining) 

1 . Astral goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An ema- 
nation of Vairocana and also his female aspect or 
Sakti. She is further identified as a hiddha-desig- 
nate or bodhisattva. She may also be the mother 
of Sakyamuni (a form of the Buddha). Consid- 
ered by some to be the equal of the Hindu Surya. 
She may be depicted in a three-headed form (as 
the Sakti of Hayagriva), in which case her left 
head is that of a pig. She rides in a chariot drawn 
by seven boars. Color: red, yellow or white. 
Attributes: arrow, bow, fly whisk, horse's head 
image in the hair, needle, prayer wheel, staff, 
sword, thread and trident. Three-eyed. 

2. Demiurge. Hindu. A product of the creator 
god Brahma. 

Mariyamman (mother of smallpox) 
Plague goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India]. A terrible goddess, one of the Navasaktis 
and linked with the goddess Kali. She is honored 
in a ritual during which victims (in penance) are 
suspended from a rope and an iron hook through 
the flesh of the back and whirled around a pole. 
Also Mariyattal. 

Mamas 

Local tutelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Probably regarded as a fertility deity, his cult was 



Mata 1 9 1 



centered at Gaza at the Marneion sanctuary and 
probably succeeded that of Dagon. He may have 
been the subject of a colossal statue attributed to 
Zeus found near Gaza. 
See also Dagan. 

MARS 

ORIGIN Roman. God of war. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Ares (Greek). 
center(s) of cult the Mars Ultor sanctuary 

(Augustine) in Rome. 
ART references large number of sculptures and 

carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

Mars may have originated as a god of vegetation, 
but becomes closely modeled on the Greek war 
god Ares. The son of Jupiter and Juno, he is 
one of the major deities on the Roman pantheon 
and the patron of all soldiers. He was particularly 
popular in Roman Britain. 

He is depicted wearing a suit of armor with a 
plumed helmet. He bears a shield and spear. His 
retinue includes Metus (Fear), Demios (Dread), 
Phobos (Alarm), Eris (Discord) and Pallor (Ter- 
ror). Mars is frequently linked with Bellona, 
the minor Roman war goddess who drives his 
chariot. He took an active part in the primordial 
war between gods and giants. His consort is 
Venus and he is the father of Harmonia, Cupid 
and Anteros. He is also romantically linked with 
the vestal Ilia, who was buried alive for contra- 
vening the laws of her sisterhood. Through Ilia 
Mars fathered Romulus, the alleged founder of 
the city of Rome, and Remus, who was slain by 
Romulus. It was the convention that a Roman 
general, before setting out for combat, would 
invoke Mars in his sanctuary. The name of 
the month of March, noted for its violent 



weather, is derivative and the month was dedi- 
cated to the god. 

The training ground for would-be Roman 
legionaries was known as the Campus Martins 
(field of Mars). Mars's sacred animals include the 
bull, wolf and woodpecker. 

See also Amor. 

Martu 

Tutelary god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). The 
patron god of the city of Ninab mentioned in the 
texts but never re-discovered. Probably not a true 
Sumerian deity but adopted from an unknown 
western Semitic culture. He is sometimes identi- 
fied as a storm god. 

Maru 

God of war. Polynesian and Maori. One of the 
important deities revered by Maori clans in New 
Zealand in times of war, he may be represented in 
totems as an aggressive face with a prominent tuft 
of hair, staring eyes and tongue protruding, 
though these totems generally represent ances- 
tors rather than deities. Mam may be invoked in 
the famihar Maori war dances and chants demon- 
strated popularly by the All Blacks before rugby 
matches all over the world. 

Marutgana 

Storm gods. Hindu (Vedic). The sons of RUDRA 
and attendants of Indra. Also Maruts. 

Mata (great mother) 

Primeval mother goddess. Hindu. The archetypal 
progenitrix of all Hving things. She becomes the 
tutelary goddess of every village in northern India, 
but is also seen as a plague goddess associated with 
smallpox, in which case her epithet becomes Maha 
Mai. Her Tamil counterpart is Amman. 



192 Matara 



Matara 

Mother goddess. Hindu. Applied collectively to 
groups of deities, the divine mothers, also more 
specifically to the consort of the god Kasyapa. As 
divine mothers they are also regarded as Saktis. 
The numbers vary according to separate tradi- 
tions and they are therefore identified as the 
Saptamataras (seven), AsTAMATARAS (eight) and 
Navasaktis (nine). Less commonly there may be 
up to fifty mataras in a group. Their images are 
normally carved in stone (very few exist in metal) 
and they are depicted seated, often upon a corpse, 
and may be of terrifying appearance. 

Matarisvan 

Minor messenger god. Hindu (Vedic). The atten- 
dant of Agni. 

Mater Matuta 

Sky goddess. Italic. The personification of the 
davm light who evolved into a fertility deity con- 
cerned with childbirth. She is also a tutelary god- 
dess of mariners. 
See also ISIS. 

Madalcueye (her skirt is blue) 

Minor fertiUty goddess. Aztec (classical Meso- 

american) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as 
the Tlaloc complex, closely associated with 
water. 

MATRES (mothers) 

ORIGIN Romano-Celtic (across Europe but partic- 
ularly Rhineland). Triads of mother goddesses. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC, but 

probably much earlier, until Christianization 
(circa AD 400). 
SYNONYMS Deae Mattes; Matronae. 



center(s) OF CULT various shrines. 

ART REFERENCES various Romano-Celtic sculp- 
tures, reliefs and votive plaques. An excellent 
example comes from Cirencester, England. 

LITERARY SOURCES inscriptions. 

Triads of benevolent mother goddesses were 
probably worshiped, in the main, as household 
deities guarding against disease or famine. An 
important sculpture of Matres was foimd embed- 
ded in the walls of London on a section of fourth 
century rebuilding adjacent to the Thames. 
Another, the Matres Aiifaniae, was dedicated by 
Quettius Severus, the quaestor of the colony of 
Cologne. Several unnamed Matres are held in the 
Corinium museum at Cirencester. The sculptures 
are often associated with comucopiae, baskets 
of fruit, loaves, sheaves of grain, fish or other 
symbols of prosperity and fertiUty. They may also 
carry or suckle children. Many of the triads were 
specific to regions, hence the T-everae among the 
Treveri tribe around modern Trier, or the 
Nemausicae at Nimes. 

Many of the dedications to such mothers were 
made by soldiers. There is a sHght suggestion that 
they might also have been linked to victory in 
battle. The plaque found in London seems to 
have the mothers holding palm fronds. They are 
also not infrequently depicted with dogs, which 
were generally included as symbols of healing. 
Some, particularly from the Rhineland, show 
young and older figures, suggesting the different 
ages of womanhood. 

Matsuo 

God of sake brewers. Shinto [Japan]. Celebrated 
annually in a festival in Kyoto, when the 
presence of the god is carried on a palanquin. 
It is rowed down the river prior to a general 
celebration, during which sake is drunk 
liberally. 



Mayajalakrama-Kurukulla 1 93 



Matsya 

Incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). In this first avatar a Visnu appears as a 
fish which, according to one legend, tows a ship 
carrjdng the law-giver Manu to safety after the 
primal flood. Matsya engages in an epic battle 
with the demon Hayagriva who stole the Vedas 
from a sleeping Brahma. Usually depicted with a 
human torso carrying symbols, e.g. wheel and 
conch, on a fish's body. 

Maturaiviran 

Locally worshiped god. Hindu. Of fearsome 
character, he is the deification of a seventeenth 
century policeman who eloped with a princess 
and was slain. Known from southern India, where 
he is also a god of wine. Attributes: shield and 
sword. 



Maui 

Tutelary god. Polynesian (Maori) [New 
Zealand]. Not a creator god but one who assists 
mankind in various supernatural ways. Accord- 
ing to tradition he was aborted at birth and cast 
into the sea by his mother, who thought he was 
dead. He was rescued entangled in seaweed. He 
is the deity who drew the islands of New 
Zealand from the floor of the ocean in a net. 
Maui caught the sun and beat it into submis- 
sion, making it travel more slowly across the sky 
so that the days became longer. He also brought 
fire from the underworld for mankind and tried, 
unsuccessfully, to harness immortality for him 
by entering the vulva of the underworld god- 
dess Hine-Nui-Te-Po while she was asleep. 
She awoke and crushed him to death. Though a 
deity, he had been made vulnerable to death 
by a mistake during his rites of birth (see also 
Balder). Also Mawi. 



Mawu 

1. Moon goddess. Fon [Benin, West Africa). The 
sister of the sun god Lisa. She is also considered 
to bestow fertility and motherhood and is gener- 
ally benevolent in nature. 

2 . Sk\r god. Ewe [T)go, West Africa] . Among the 
tribe neighboring the Eon. Mawu is perceived as 
male and a creator deity. He favors the color 
white and is also benevolent and generous in 
nature. 

Maya(devi) 

Mother goddess. Buddhist. The mother of the 
Buddha perceived as the world lotus or padma 
from which the Buddha was born. She equates 
with the Hindu goddess Laksmi. The term is 
also appHed to the personification of the visible 
universe and, in Hinduism, as an epithet of the 
goddess DURGA. 

Mayahuel 

Minor fertility goddess. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico). One of the group 
classed as the Ometochtli complex associated 
with the maguey plant from which pulque is 
brewed. She may be depicted seated upon 
a tortoise beside an agave plant in bloom. 
According to legend she was abducted by 
QuETZALCOATL and subsequently dismembered 
by wild animals. Erom the fragments grew the 
first agave plants. 

Mayajalakrama-Kurukulla (one who pro- 
ceeds in the net of illusion) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). The personifi- 
cation of all Dhyanibuddhas. Color: red. Attrib- 
utes: arrow, bow, hook, images of the five 
Dhyanibuddhas, lotus (red), pitcher, rosary and 
waterjar. 



I 94 Mayin 



Mayin 

Supreme god. Tungus [eastern and central 
Siberia]. A benevolent but remote deity who 
breathes Ufe into newborn children and receives 
the spirits of the dead. 

Mayon (the black one) 

Creator god. Early Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India and Sri Lanka]. Animistic high god of the 
pastoral regions, found in Sangam hterature and 
thought to reside in trees. Perhaps equating with 
ViSNU or Krsna. 

Ma-zu 

Sea goddess. Chinese. Known from the coastal 
regions of southeastern China as a benevolent 
guardian of fishermen, and closely linked with 
the goddess KUAN YiN. 

Mbomba 

Creator god. Mongo and Nkundo [Democratic 
Republic of Congo, central Africa]. He oper- 
ates through intermediaries known as hilima 
and through the spirits of the dead, bakali. Also 
known as landa, Komba, Mbombo, Njakomba 
and Wai. Among the Ngbandi people there is 
recognized a vast water monster or river god by 
the same name. 

Mbombe 

Mother goddess. Nkundo [Democratic Republic 
of Congo, central Africa] . The consort of Itonde 
and mother of the hero LlANjA. 

Mbongo 

River god. Ngbandi [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. One of seven deities 



invoked at sunrise each morning. The creator god 
of all black people, said to reside in black waters. 

Mbotumbo 

Creator god. Baulc [Ivory Coast, West Africa]. A 
generally benevolent guardian deity with the head 
of an ape. 

Medeine (of the trees) 

Woodland goddess. Pre-Christian Latvian. 
Known from medieval manuscripts. 

Medha (wisdom) 

Minor goddess. Buddist (Mahayana). The Sakti 
of Sridhara. 

Meditrina 

Goddess of heaUng. Roman. Syncretized into the 
cult of Aesculapius. 

Meghanada (cloud roar) 
Minor god. Hindu. A son of Ravana who once 
briefly bested Indra and became known as the 
"Indra-conqueror. " 

Mehen 

Minor chthonic underworld god. Egyptian. The 
guardian of the barque of the sun god Re during 
its passage through the underworld at night. 
Depicted in the form of a coiled snake. 

Meher 

Sun god. Pre-Christian Armenian. Closely Unked 
with the Persian model of MlTHRA, he is the son 
of Aramazd who appears in the form of fire. In 



Mena 1 95 



contrast to this imagery, his home is said to be in 
a cave and he takes the animal guise of a raven. 

Mehet-Weret (great flood) 

Minor goddess associated with creation accounts. 
Egyptian. In some versions of the story she epit- 
omizes the primeval ocean, while in others she is 
the waterway on which the barque of the sun god 
Re travels. She is depicted as a cow bearing a sun 
disc between its horns and lying on papyrus reeds. 

Mellonia 

Goddess of bees. Roman. 
MELQART 

ORIGIN Phoenician [Turkey]. Heroic tutelary 
god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSfflP circa 1200 BC tO 

200 BC. 

SYNONYMS Milk-quart. 

center(s) of cult Tyre. 

ART REFERENCES possibly Sculptures in stone. 

LITERARY SOURCES Herodotus and local inscrip- 
tions; Vetus Testamentum. 

A god of youthful appearance often associated 
with the sea. Known mainly from Tyre, where he 
was regarded as the consort of Astarte and prob- 
ably constituted part of a trio of major deities 
with Baal Samin and Astarte. He may be 
depicted on coinage riding a sea-horse. The cult 
of Melqart spread extensively through Egypt, 
Carthage, Cyprus, etc. Melqart equates with 
ESMUN, the tutelary god of Sidon. Known in 
Hebrew tradition as the ruler of the underworld 
and probably based on the Sumerian/Akkadian 
Nergal. In Hellenic times he becomes defined 
more as a sun god, but is largely syncretized with 
Herakles. The pillars in the sanctuary at 



Gadeira/Cadiz were renamed the Pillars of Her- 
cules by the Romans. 

Me'mdeye-Eci'e 

Eire spirit. Yukaghir [eastern Siberia] . A benevolent 
being residing in the sky and known as "father fire." 

Men 

Moon god. Phrygian [Turkey]. Ruler of both 
upper and lower worlds. Probably also a god of 
healing, he was subsequently adopted by the 
Greeks and Romans. The cult was popular during 
the imperial period, but its inscriptions were writ- 
ten in Greek. 

Men Ascaenus 

Local tutelary god. Antioch-near-Pisidia. Possibly 
originating as a Persian moon god and known 
chiefly from a description by Strabo. He enjoyed 
a substantial cult including a temple some 1,200 

meters above sea level. His symbol is the head of 
a bull above a crescent moon and wreath; it 
appears on local coinage circa AD 200. The pop- 
ularity of the cult earned antagonism from the 
Roman occupation. 
See also Men. 

Men Shen 

God of passage. Chinese. One of a pair of deities, 
armed with bow and arrows, who guard door- 
ways and gates. Paper images are pinned to 
entrances of homes during the New Year cele- 
brations to ward off evil spirits. 

Mena 

Mountain goddess. Hindu. The consort of HlMA- 
VAN and the mother of Ganga and Parvatl 



I 96 Menechen 



Menechen (master of men) 
Supreme god. Araucania Indian [southern Andes]. 
Also known as Pillan (heaven) and, west of the 
Andes, Guenu-Pillan (spirit of heaven). 

Meness 

Moon god. Pre-Christian Latvian. Consort of the 
sun goddess Saule. He is a guardian deity of trav- 
elers and military expeditions. 

Menulis 

Moon god. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. Consort of 
the sun goddess. 

Menzabac (black powder maker) 
Weather god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. He sprinkles black dye on the clouds, 
which causes them to generate rain. Believed to 
live on the edge of a lake. Also a fever god and a 
keeper of good souls. Also Metzabac. 

MERCURIUS 

ORIGIN Roman. Messenger god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Psychopompus; Oneicopompus; 

Hermes (Greek); Mercury. 
center(s) of cult Circus Maximus (Rome). 
ART references sculptures and carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

One of the twelve major deities of Olympus, Mer- 
cury is modeled closely on the Greek god Hermes. 
In Roman mythology he is the son of JUPITER and 
the plains goddess Maia, born in a cave on Mount 
Cyllene in Arcadia. He is attributed with the 
invention of the lyre made from a tortoise shell, and 
with various misdemeanors, including the theft of 



catde from Apollo, an allegory on the blowing 
away of the clouds (Apollo's herds). Mercury also 
personifies the wind. ApoUo presented Mercury 
with the gift of his winged baton, the caduceus, 
which had the power of resolving conflict and dis- 
pute. The gods also presented Mercury with the 
winged sandals or talaria and cap or petasus. 

Originally he was a god of riches but became a 
patron of travelers and thieves. The French for 
Wednesday, mercredi, derives from his name. His 
main annual festival, the Mercuralia, took place in 
Rome in May and his statues were frequently 
placed as boimdary markers. 

As Psychopompus he leads the souls of the dead 
into Hades, and as Oneicopompus he oversees 
the world of dreams. 

Meretseger 

LocaHzed chthonic goddess associated with the 
underworld. Egyptian. At Thebes she acted in 
either benign or destructive fashion against work- 
ers building tombs in the Valley of the Kings. She 
is generally depicted as a coiled cobra which may 
possess a human head and arm. One of the best 
representations is on the sarcophagus of Rameses 
III. She lost her popularity when the use of 
Thebes as a royal cemetery was discontinued 
early in the first millennium BC. 

Mes An Du 

God. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Probably an alternative title for the 
sun god (see Samas). 

Mes Lam Taea 

God of war. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). An aggressive aspect of the 
chthonic underworld god Nergal. Often linked 
with the god LUGAL-IRRA. 



Mictlantecuhdi 1 97 



Messor 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Concerned 
with the growth and harvesting of crops. 

Meter 

Mother goddess, Greek. The essence of the great 
mother of all gods, equating most closely to Gaia. 
Known throughout the Greek Empire and gen- 
erally the object of devotion by individuals rather 
than large cult followings. Also known as Meter 
oriae (mother of the mountain). Her popularity is 
thought to have spread from northern Ionia. 
Herodotus mentions a festival of Meter in 
Kyzikos. Probably derived originally from the 
western Asiatic great mother (see Kybele). 

Metis 

Goddess of wisdom. Greek. The daughter of 
Okeanos and Tethys. The original consort of 
Zeus and mother of Athena. According to leg- 
end, Zeus swallowed her because he feared she 
would engender a child more powerful than he. 

Metsaka 

Moon goddess. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Known as "grandmother moon," she is 
the consort of the fire god Tatevali. She guards 
the Huichol against the god of death, Tokakami. 

Metzdi 

Minor moon god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group of deities belonging 
to the Tezcatlipoca complex. 

Mexitii (maguey-hare) 
Minor god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of the group of deities 
belonging to the HUITZILPOCHTLI complex. 



Mhalsa 

Minor goddess. Hindu (late). The consort of 
Khandoba and considered to be a form of the 
goddess Parvati. Locally worshiped at Jejuri, 
near Poona in western India. 

Micapedacoli (dead mat chest) 
Minor chthonic underworld goddess. Aztec (clas- 
sical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
of deities belonging to the Mictlantecuhtli 
complex. 

Michi-No-Kami 

Gods of passage. Shinto [Japan]. The generic 
name for three KAMIS associated with roads and 
crossroads. They also protect the boundaries 
of house and environs and may be known as 
Yakushin gods, guardians against plague. See 
KuNADO. Also Chiburi-No-Kami. 

Mictecacihuad 

Chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of a pair of deities 
with Mictlantecuhtli. In the primeval waters 
of the cosmos, they generated the monstrous 
goddess CiPACTLi, from whom the earth was 
formed. 

Micdantecuhdi 

Chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The creator of the 
underworld, Mictlan. Depicted with a skull-like 
appearance and protruding teeth. Also one of a 
pair of deities with MiCTECACiHUATL. In the 
primeval waters of the cosmos, they generated 
the monstrous goddess Cepactli, from whom the 
earth was formed. In alternative traditions he is 
the god of the sixth of the thirteen heavens, 



1 98 Midir 



Ilhiiicatl Mamalhuazocan (the heaven of the fire 
drill), or he is one of the gods who support the 
lowest heaven at the four cardinal points. Mict- 
lantecuhtli is perceived to reside in the south 
(codices Borgia and Vaticanus E). He is also one of 
the four great temple deities (codices Borgia, Cospi 
and Fejervery-Mayer). 

Midir 

Chthonic god. Celtic (Irish). Appears in poly- 
morphic form. According to legend the consort of 
Etain and ruler of the land of Mag Mor. He lost 
an eye when hit by a hazel wand; the eye was 
replaced by DiANCECHT, the physician god. In 
Roman times he became more of an underworld 
deity. Also Mider. 

Mihos 

Lion god. Egyptian. The son of the goddess 
Bastet. Depicted in leonine form and originat- 
ing from a cult center at Leontopolis [Tell el'- 

Muqdam] in Lower Egypt. A sanctuary in his 
honor was built at Bubastis. Also Miysis (Greek). 

Mika-Hiya-Hi (terrible swift sun) 
Sun god. Shinto [Japan]. A deity subservient to 
the sun goddess Amaterasu and engendered 
from the blood of the fire KAMI Kagu-Tsuchi. 
Certain Japanese still worship the sun, going 
outside in the morning, facing east, bowing and 
clapping their hands in a daily ritual. 
See also Hl-HlYA-Hl. 

Mikal 

Local god. Western Semitic (Phoenician). The 
cult was followed strongly on Cyprus. Some 
authorities believe he was invoked as a plague 
god. 



Mi-Kura-Tana-No-Kami (august store- 
house chief kami) 
House god. Shinto [Japan]. One of a number of 
domestic guardian KAMIS, he is particularly con- 
cerned with the protection of storehouses. 

MUkastart 

Local tutelary god. Western Semitic. Known only 
from Umm el-Ammed where his cult apparently 
co-existed with that of Baal Sapon. One of two 
major temples built at Umm el-Ammed in the 
third century BC was probably dedicated to 
MiLKASTART, and the name is regarded as a syn- 
cretization of Melqart and ASTARTE. 

Milkom 

Tutelary god. Western Semitic (Ammonite). One 

of the deities mentioned in the Vetus Testanientiim 
(1 Kings 1L5) as being worshiped by the Israelite 
king Solomon. Also Milcom. 

Mi-Lo Fo 

God. Chinese Buddhist. The local name given to 
the BODHISATTVA Maitreya. Like the Indian 
model he is represented as a rubicund figure. 
Attributes include roses and a purse. 

MIMIR 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). God of wisdom and 
inspiration. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period (circa 
AD 700) and possibly earher until Christianization 
(circa AD 1 100). synonyms Mimr; Mimi; Mim. 

center(s) of cult none known. 

ART REFERENCES none known, but possibly the 
subject of anonymous carvings. 

literary sources Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri). 



MINERVA 199 



An Aesir god who lives in the world of the Frost 
Giants. He guards the well of knowledge, filled by 
a spring which flows beneath the World Tree, 
Yggdrasil, and which is supplied from the 
primeval waters. The god Othin drank from the 
spring to acquire knowledge, having forfeited one 
of his eyes to Mimir. Said to be the wisest among 
the gods. According to some sources he was sent 
as hostage to the Vanir in their war with the Aesir 
and was killed by them (see Othin). Some authors 
argue that he is more properly a giant than a god. 
Said to be accompanied often by the silent god 
HOENIR. Mimir warns Othin of the final 
onslaught at Ragnarok (doom). 



MIN 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Fertility god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC until 
the end of Egyptian history (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Menu (Egyptian). 

center(s) of cult Qift at the western end of 
the Wadi Hammamat, lying between Luxor 
and Qena; Akhmim, north of Qena. 

ART REFERENCES sculpmre including fragmented 
limestone colossi from Qift dating from 3000 
BC or earlier; stone reliefs, wall paintings, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts, coffin texts, 
etc. 

Min is the most significant deity in the Egyptian 
pantheon in respect of sexual virility. In some 
genealogies he is the son of IsiS, in others he rep- 
resents Isis's consort with HORUS as their child. 
Alin is depicted in anthropomorphic form wear- 
ing a modius bearing two plumes and a hanging 
ribbon. He is generally drawn in profile, legs 
together and with his left arm raised into the 
angle made by his royal flail. The most obvious 
feature of the iconography is a strongly erect 
penis. Min is represented in older art by two 



serrated cones projecting horizontally from a disc. 
His sacred animal is probably a white bull and he 
is also associated with the tall lettuce species {Lac- 
tuca sativa), the shape of which may be reminis- 
cent of an erect phallus. 

By the end of the second millennium, Min had 
become partly syncretized with Horus as a god 
Min-Horus. Min is also a guardian deity of mines, 
hence his cult centers at Qift and Akhim, which 
were bases for gold-mining expeditions. Temple 
buildings at both sites are only known from the 
Greco-Roman period. Min was celebrated as part 
of the coronation rites of a ruler in Egypt, thus 
ensuring the sexual vigor and fertility of the new 
pharaoh. The festival is found depicted at Thebes 
in association with Rameses 11 and III. At the time 
Min was frequently presented with offerings of 
flowers and sacred lettuces. 

Minaksi ^ish eyed) 

Local fish goddess. Hindu. Regarded as a Sakti 
of Siva (i.e. Parvati) and the daughter of Kubera. 

She is the mother of Ugra. Minaksi is known 
mainly from southern India where one of her 
main temples is at Madurai. 

Minato-No-Kami 

God of river mouths and estuaries. Shinto 

[Japan] . The son of Izanagi and Izanami and 
father of the heavenly and earthly water dividers. 

MINERVA 

ORIGIN Roman. Goddess of war. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC untU 

AD 400. 

SYNONYMS Pallas, Athena (Greek). 

center(s) of cult main Capitoline temple 
shared with JUPITER and JUNO, also an impor- 
tant sanctuary on the Esquiline (see Athena). 



200 Minos 



ART REFERENCES depicted with Juno and Jupiter 
on the Great Arch of Trajan at Beneventum 
erected in AD 1 1 5; frequently appearing on sar- 
cophagi offering new life beyond the grave. 
See also ATHENA. 

LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

Minerva is probably derived from an Etruscan 
goddess Menrva but later becomes modeled on 
the Greek goddess Athena. Like the latter, she 
sprang fully armed from the head of JUPITER 
(Zeus), whose head had been cleaved with Vul- 
can's ax. As Minerva Medica she is the tutelary 
goddess of Rome. She is perceived variously as 
goddess of war and peace, but also of wisdom and 
the arts and crafts including needlework. Annual 
festivals in her honor included the Minei'valia and 
Quinquatria (March 19-23) at which the Palla- 
dium statue which had allegedly fallen from 
Olympus was carried in procession. 

Minos 

Minor underworld god. Greco-Roman. A son of 
Zeus and Europa. The mythical king of Crete. 
One of three judges of the dead souls entering 
Hades. His cult is linked with the worship of buUs. 

Mirsa 

God of light. Pre-Christian Caucasus region. 
Probably derived from the Persian god Mithra. 
Also the deity responsible for fire. 

MITHRA (friend) 

ORIGIN Persian [Iran]. God of the upper air. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC tO 
AD 200. 

SYNONYMS MiTRA (Elindu); MiTHRAS (Roman). 
center(s) of cult throughout area of Persian 
influence. 



ART REFERENCES various sculptures and reUefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Avesta. 

Originating in India, Mithra is a god of light who 
was translated into the attendant of the god 
Ahura Mazda in the light religion of Persia; 
from this he was adopted as the Roman deity 
Mithras. He is not generally regarded as a sky 
god but a personification of the fertilizing power 
of warm, light air. According to the Avesta, he 
possesses 10,000 eyes and ears and rides in a char- 
iot drawn by white horses. 

In dualistic Zoroastrianism, which effectively 
demoted him, Mithra is concerned with the end- 
less battle between light and dark forces; he rep- 
resents truth. He is responsible for the keeping 
of oaths and contracts. He was born from a rock 
and, according to legend, engaged in a primeval 
struggle with Ahura Mazda's first creation, a wild 
bull, which he subdued and confined to a cave. 
The bull escaped, but was recaptured by Mithra, 
who slit its throat. From the blood sprang plant 
life on earth. His chief adversary is Ahriman, 
the power of darkness. Mithra is not generally 
worshiped on his own, but as an integral part of 
the Mithraic worship of Ahura Mazda, where he 
acts as an intercessor between gods and men. In 
the Hellenic period he was transformed more 
closely to the role of a sun god. 

See also Ahura Mazda. 

Mithras 

God of soldiers. Greco-Roman. Derived from the 
Indian-Persian model. He became particularly 
prominent among mihtary people throughout the 
Roman Empire during the first and second cen- 
turies AD, as a god symbolizing loyalty and truth. 
The cult was performed in an underground tem- 
ple, the mithraeum, and involved the sacrifice of a 
bull. Mithraism, under Roman influence, was an 
exclusively male cult. 



Moccus 20 1 



Miti 

Maternal spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
The consort of Quikinna'qu. According to tra- 
dition her father is twilight man, Gi'thililan, who 
deserted her when she was very young. She is 
regarded as the mother of the Koryak people, 
whose immediate sons and daughters are 
Eme'mqut, Na'nqa-Ka'le, Yine'ane'ut and 
Cana'ina'ut. 

Mi-Toshi-No-Kami (the august harvest 

kami) 

Agricultural god. Shinto Japan]. The offspring of 
O-Tosm-No-KAMi, the harvest god of rice, and 
Kagayo-Himc (refulgent princess), he is in charge 
of crops other than rice. 

Mitra (friend) 

Minor sun god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). An 
Aditya, one of six descendants of Aditi, he was 
originally associated with Varuna (Vedic), 
ruling the day while Varuna ruled the night. It 
is from this model that first MiTHRA (Persian) 
and then MiTHRAS (Roman) were derived. He 
is also the god of intimate friendship. Attrib- 
utes: two lotuses, trident and a sacrificial drink 
or soma. 

Mi-Wi-No-Kami 

God of wells. Shinto [Japan]. One of three deities 
responsible for wells, worshiped jointly in the Mi- 
Wi-Jinja shrine. He is particularly the god of 
domestic wells. 

Mixcoatl-Camaxtli (dotid serpent) 
God of war. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. Also a deity of hunting and fire who received 
human sacrifice of captured prisoners. According 



to tradition, the sun god Tezcatlipoca trans- 
formed himself into Mixcoatl-Camaxtli to 
make fire by twirling the sacred fire sticks. 

Mizu-Ha-No-Me 

Water goddess. Shinto [Japan]. The senior water 
deity who was engendered from the urine of the 

primordial creator goddess Izanami during her 
fatal illness, having been burned producing the 
fire god Hi-No-Kagu-Tsuchi. 

Mkulumncandi 

Creator god. Swazi [Swaziland, South Africa]. 
There is no worship of this deity, though he is 
knovm as the "great first one." 

Mlentengamunye (one leg) 
Messenger god. Swazi [Swaziland, South Africa]. 
The intermediary between mankind and the 
creator god MKULUMNCANDI. 

Mlk-Amuklos 

Heroic god. Western Semitic [Syrio-Palestine] 
and Cyprus. Known from inscriptions circa 11 00 
BC and possibly one of the original pre-Hellenic 
models from which APOLLO was derived. 

Mnemosyne 

Goddess of memor)^. Greek. A consort of Zeus 
and mother of the legendary nine Muses of 
Helicon. 

Moccus 

Local swine god. Romano-Celtic (Continental 
European). Assimilated vnth Mercury. 
See also Mercurius. 



202 Modimo 



Modimo 

Universal god. Tswana [Botswana, South Africa]. A 
monotheistic deity possibly, though not with cer- 
tainty, influenced by Christianity. Not specifically 
a creator god, since the universe and MODIMO have 
"always been." Perceived as the river of existence 
which flows endlessly through space and time. He 
rules the light and dark opposites in the universe, 
as well as the proper order of life on earth. 

Modron (another) 

Mother goddess. Celtic (Welsh). The mother of 
Mabon, whom she subsequently loses. Her cult is 
closely linked with that of Mabon and she may 
originally have been one of the aspects of the god- 
dess(es) Morrigan. In Christian times some 
authors believe that she became St. Madrun. 

Mogounos 

Local tribal deity. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). Assim- 
ilated with Apollo. 

Mohini (illusion) 

Minor incarnation of ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). Mohini is an avatara who appears in the 
form of an enchantress whose form Visnu adopted 
briefly to deceive demons attempting to remove 
the ambrosia created by churning the primeval 
ocean of milk (see also Garuda). Visnu used the 
same guise to dupe and seduce the god SiVA. 

Moirai 

Collective name for a group of goddesses. Greek. 
The Fates of human life: Klotho, the spinner, 
Lachesis, the caster of lots, and Atropos, the 
unturnable inevitability of death. The daughters 
of Zeus and Themis, depicted with spindle, scroll 
and scales respectively. Also Moires. 



Mokos 

Goddess of fertility. Pre-Christian Slavonic 
European. Identified in the Nestor Chronicle as a 
goddess of midwifery. Her cult was taken over by 
that of the Virgin Mary. 

Molek 

God. Western Semitic (Ammonite). Synonymous 
with the god Moloch (Hebrew) of the Vetus 
Testamentum to whom Israelite children were 
sacrificed by burning (1 Kings 1 1.7 and 2 Kings 
23.10) 

Moloch See Molek. 
Moma 

Creator god. Uitoto Indian [South America]. 
Originally the creator of mankind. When he was 
slain he entered and ruled the underworld. Also 
the apotheosis of the moon. 

Mombo Wa Ndhlopfii (elephant face) 
Tutelary god. Ronga [Mozambique, southern 
Africa] . An ancestral deity who lives in and con- 
trols the forests, also appearing in the guise of a 
huge snake. He is propitiated by the sacrifice of a 
cockerel. 

MON (great god). 

ORIGEV Kafir [Afghanistan — Hindukush]. War- 
rior god and hero. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from prehistoric 
origins and persisting in certain localized parts 
today. 

SYNONYMS Mandi. 

center(s) of cult chiefly at the village of 
Pashki and at Dewa (Prasun region), but also at 



MORKIGAN 203 



niimerous smaller sanctuaries throughout Kafir 
region. 

ART REFERENCES WOoden SCulptUTeS. 

LITERARY SOURCES Robertson G.S. The Kafirs of 
the Hindukush (1896), Morgenstierne G. Some 
Kati Myths and Hymns (1951). 

Mon is a senior deity in the Kafir pantheon who 
challenges and defends mankind against demons 
and giants. He is the first ofispring of the creator 
god Imra. He is also a weather god who controls 
clouds and mist. Mon is perceived as a deity of 
vast size and vigor who creates glaciers with his 
footprints. He is also a god of flowing water. 
Some legends place him as a creator of mankind 
and law-giver, but only mirroring the actions of 
the supreme creator Imra. He appears as a medi- 
ator between heaven and earth. 

Mon is depicted, in wood, either in human form 
carrpng a golden bow and quiver made by his 
brother Kshibere, or as a humped bull. Alterna- 
tively he is represented by a standing stone slab 
with two attendant smaller stones. 

According to legend, when the giants locked up 
the sun and moon in a gold house, Mon turned 
himself into a child and in this guise was pro- 
tected by a giantess mother. After many attempts 
to break into the house, he succeeded, restored 
the sun and moon to their place in the heavens 
and assisted Imra in the creation of mankind. 

Moneta 

Minor goddess of prosperity. Roman. The spirit 
of the mint, known particularly from the second 
century BC. 

Montu 

Local god of war. Egyptian. Worshiped in and 
around the district of Thebes in Upper Egypt. 
He is known from circa 2000 BC and possibly 



earlier, but came to special prominence oversee- 
ing the aggressive posture of Theban kings from 
the XI to XVIII Dynasty (2 1 3 3- 1 320 BC). Montu 
is depicted in human form but with a falcon's 
head surmounted by twin plumes, a sun disc and 
the uraeus (cobra). At some stage, probably as 
Month (Greek), he became identified with a 
sacred bull, Buchis. 

Mor 

Sun goddess. Celtic (Irish). The progenitrix of 
the royal lineage of the kings of Munster. 

Morpheus 

Alinor god of dreams. Greek. The son of Hypnos, 
there is no record of worship of this deity. 

MORRIGAN (queen of demons) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). War, fertihty and vegeta- 
tion goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from prehistoric 
origins until Christianization (circa AD 400). 

SYNONYMS Macha (Ulster); Medb or Maeve 
(Connaught); Etain Echraide (Tara); also 
probably Badb Catha; Eriu; Eodla; Nemain; 
Rhiannon. 

center(s) of cult various sanctuaries through- 
out Ireland. 

ART REFERENCES inscriptions and carvings on 
Romano-Celtic altars, stone pillars, etc. 

LITERARY sotiRCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 
Kings. 

A complex goddess displaying various characteris- 
tics which are both generative and destructive (see 
also Anat, Inana, Istar, Athene). At the festival 
of Samain, she mates with the Dagda to ensure 
the future prosperity of the land and as Queen 
Maeve (Medb) of Connaught she was ritually 



204 Mors 



wedded to the mortal king whose antecedent was 
Ailill. As Nemain (panic) and Badb Catha (raven of 
batde), she takes on a more warlike and destructive 
aspect. Rather than engaging directly in conflict, 
she uses her supernatural powers to spread fear 
and disarray. The Irish hero Cu Chulainn was thus 
visited on the battle field by Badb driving a char- 
iot and dressed in a red cloak and with red eye- 
brows presenting an intimidating appearance. She 
is capable of changing her shape into various ani- 
mal forms and in the guise of a raven or a crow is 
able to foretell the outcome of battle. 

Morrigan is also closely associated with horse 
symbolism, befitting a horse-oriented culture 
with strong links east toward Asia. Mare forms 
the basis of the names Macha and Medb. She may 
also at times have been syncretized with the horse 
goddess Epona. As with other Celtic goddesses 
Morrigan is an intrinsic part of the land rather 
than a tribal deity, the "Sovereignty of Ireland." 

The Celtic goddess is frequently described as a 
triad of separate aspects. Hence Morrigan, 
Nemain and Badb are linked and become collec- 
tively the Morrigna (see also Matres). In associ- 
ation with the vitality of Irish kings, Morrigan 
assumed the appearance both of a young girl and 
of a hag, the latter signalling the banishment or 
slaughter of a ruler who had become infirm or 
otherwise scarred with signs of mortahty. 

Mors 

Minor god of death. Roman. Mors replaces the 
Greek Thanatos and, according to legend, is 
one of the twin sons of Nyx, goddess of the night. 
He hves in part of the remote cave occupied by 
SOACNUS, god of sleep, beside the river Lethe. 
Ovid depicts him as a hideous and cadaverous fig- 
ure dressed in a winding sheet and holding a 
scythe and hour glass. Known particularly 
through Lacedaemonian culture where twin stat- 
ues of Mors and Somnus were placed side by side. 



Morta 

Goddess of death. Roman. In later Roman times 
she becomes linked with the birth goddesses 
Decima and Nona, as a trio of goddesses of fate, 
the Parcae. 

Morva 

Sky spirits. Andaman Islands [Sea of Bengal]. 
Invisible but thought to be of human form. 

Morvran (sea crow) 

Local god of war. Celtic (Welsh). The son of 
Ceridwen and Tegid Foel. Legend has it that 
he was extremely ugly and that his mother tried to 
imbue him with wisdom by preparing a special 
brew of inspiration. It was drunk by Gwion. 
Morvran was invincible in battle because his 
enemies thought him a demon. 

MOT (death) 

ORIGIN Canaanite and Phoenician [northern 

Israel, Lebanon and Syrian coastal regions]. 

God of natural adversity. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from prehistoric 

times imtil circa 200 BC. 
SYNONYMS Muth (Phoenician). 
center(s) of cult possibly Byblos. 
ART REFERENCES none known. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ugaritic texts from Ras 

Samra; Philon of Byblos; inscriptions. 

Mot is the Canaanite representation of adversity in 
the natural world. He hves in a pit within the earth 
and is responsible for its annual death fi-om drought 
and heat: "he has scorched the oUve, the produce of 
the earth and the fruit of the trees." He engages in 
the classic confrontation with the Canaanite hero 
and national god, Baal. Though the duel results in 
Baal's demise, his death is avenged by his twin 



Mujaji 205 



sister Anat, who slays Mot, then cleaves, winnows, 
burns and grinds him with a millstone, in what 
appears to be a ritual allied to the sowing of seed 
and harvesting (see OsiRis). Baal is later restored. 
The conflict probably formed the basis of an 
annual ritual drama at the Canaanite New Year 
which was held in the autumn. In the texts Mot is 
the son of D and his mother is ASERAH (Athirat). 

Moyocoyani (maker of himself) 

Minor god of universal power. Aztec (classical 

Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group of 
deities known as the Tezcatlipoca complex. 

Mratna'irgin (right-hand dawn) 
Spirit of the dawn. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. 
One of four beings responsible for the dawn in 
different directions. 

See ako Tne'sgan, Lietna'irgin and Na'chit- 
na'irgin. 



Alrgasiras (head of a gazelle) 
Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA; daughter of 
Daksa, wife of Candra (Som). 

Mu Gong 

God of immortality. Taoist (Chinese). The person- 
ification of the principle of Yang and the consort of 
Xi-Wang-Mu. He Hves in the east, she in the west. 
See also Hsi Wang Mu. 

Muati 

Obscure local god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Associated in some texts with the mythical island 
paradise of Dilmun, he becomes syncretized 
with Nabu. 



dMu-bDud Kam-Po Sa-Zan 

Sky god. Bon [Tibet]. The head of the ancient 
pantheon in the Bon rehgion. 

Mucalinda 

Tutelary god. Buddhist. The guardian of a lake 
near Bodh Gaya. He is identified as a king of the 

nagas or snake gods and is said to have protected 
the Buddha from a storm by coiling around him. 

Mugasa 

Sky god. Pigmy [central Africa]. Originally he 
headed a paradise land in which the first human 
beings lived. They disobeyed him, however, by 
entering his hut where he resided unseen, after 
which he left them and made them mortal. He is 
not worshiped in any conventional sense. Also 
Mugu. 

Mugizi 

Lake god. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. The 
guardian deity of Lake Albert, invoked with offer- 
ings by those wishing to cross the lake in boats. 

Muhingo 

God of war. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. 
Invoked specifically by warriors before entering 
battle. 

Mujaji 

Rain goddess. Lovedu [South Africa]. She is said to 
reside in the northern Drakensberg Mountains and 
sends both destructive tempests and gentle gener- 
ative rain. In past times she was propitiated with 
sacrifices of cattle and occasionally young girls. She 
is represented by a hneage of mortal queens on 
whose fabulous reputation the author Rider Hag- 
gard based the novel She. Also Modjadji. 



206 Mukasa 



Mukasa 

Supreme god. Buganda [Uganda, East Africa]. A 
benevolent deity whose main oracular sanctuary 
was sited on the island of Bubembe, Lake Victo- 
ria. His first high priest was Semagunga and, by 

convention, only the tribal leader was permitted 
to consult with the oracle there. Mukasa provides 
rain, food and cattle. 

Mula 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 

Puranic). A malevolent naksatrA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Mulindwa 

Guardian goddess. Bunyoro [Uganda, East 
Africa]. The tutelary protector of the tribal chiefs 
and their families constituting the royal clan. 

Mulliltu 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- Akkadian). 
The consort of Ellil (Enlil) and of ASSUR. She 
derives from the Sumerian goddess NiNLlL. 

MuUo 

Mule god. Romano-Celtic. Known from inscrip- 
tions and apparently associated with the god 
Mars. 

Munakata-No-Kami 

Sea gods. Shinto [Japan] . A group of three kamis, 
generally identified as the SUMlYOSm-No-KAMl, 
who protect seafarers, including fishermen. They 
are the subject of special worship by the Jlngu- 
Kogo sect, whom they escorted to Korea in dis- 
tant times. They are also tutelary deities of poets 



and may have a purifying function. Their main 
sanctuaries are the Sumiyoshi Taisha in Osaka 
and the Munakata-laisha. 

Mungan Ngour 

Creator god. Australian aboriginal. Chiefly 
revered among the Kurnai Koori aborigines in 
Victoria State. The Southern Lights or Aurora 
australis are regarded as a sign of his displeasure 
when the law and order given to humankind by 
the gods are abused. His son is Tundun, who is 
responsible for the secret ceremonies originally 
divulged only to men and including the initiation 
rights of passage from boyhood to maturity. 
When these were revealed to women, the 
Dreamtime ended, a period of chaos ensued 
and Mungan Ngour elected to live henceforth 
in the sky. 

Mungu 

Creator god. Swahili [East Africa]. The name 

applied to the notion of a single god in the heav- 
ens, influenced by the spread of Christianity. Also 
Mulungu. 

Munisvara 

Deified saint. Hindu. Technically a demigod but 
worshiped as a deity by Dravidians in southern 
India. Also Municami (Tamil). 

Munjem Malik 

Chthonic or earth god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. He 
appears as a rival and possible predecessor of 
the god Imra, but one whose realm is in 
the earth rather than the sky. Imra controls 
mountains and high pastures. Munjem Malik 
rules the earth of the valleys. He presides over 



Mutinus 207 



the council of gods. His main sanctuary was at 
Arte in the Parun valley where a large boulder 
represented his head. 

Munume 

God of weather. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. 
Invoked during times of drought or deluge 
and propitiated by means of sacrifice, usually 
an ox from the tribal chief and sheep or fowl 
from the villagers. The blood is sprinkled on 
the floor of the sanctuary and the flesh is eaten 
at the door. 

Muraja 

Goddess of music. Buddhist. Deification of a kind 
of large drum or tambourine. Color: smoky. 
Attribute: tambourine. 

Murukan 

Hunting and war god. Dravidian and Tamil 

[southern India]. Identified with the Hindu god 
Skanda. His vehicle is an elephant or a peacock. 
Color: red. Attributes: spear and staff with gar- 
land. 

Musdamma 

God of buildings. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Described as the "great builder of Enlil," Mus- 
damma is a minor deity appointed by the god 
Enki to take responsibility for building projects 
and for houses. 

Musisi 

Messenger god. Ndonga [Namibia, southwest 
Africa]. The intercessor between the creator god 
Kalunga and mankind. His father is Kalunga. 



Muso Koroni (the pure woman with the 

primeval soul) 
Chthonic fertility goddess. Bambara [Mali, 
West Africa]. The mother of all living things, 
she introduced mankind to the principles of 
farming. She has a terrifying appearance, 
depicted either in human form, sometimes 
with many breasts (cf. Artemis at Ephesus), or 
as a panther. In the latter guise she uses her 
claws to bring on menstruation in women 
and to circumcise both sexes. Prior to circum- 
cision a youth is said to possess wanzo, an 
untamed wildness. Muso Koroni is pursued by 
the sun god, Pemba, who impregnates her in 
the form of a tree {Acacia albida). Also Mousso 
Coronie. 

Mut 

The patron goddess of Thebes. Egyptian. In 
Upper Egypt she is the counterpart of Sakeimet, 
the Lower Egyptian goddess from Memphis. 
After superseding the goddess Amaunet, she 
became locally the consort of the sun god Amun, 
in which capacity she is the mother of the moon 
god Khonsu. She was also regarded as the divine 
mother of the Theban kings. Mut is depicted 
in human form wearing a vulture headdress sur- 
mounted by the twin crowns of Upper and 
Lower Egypt. She is typically dressed in a bright 
red or blue patterned gown. Less frequently she 
is drawn with a lion's head. She enjoyed a cult 
center at Thebes where her sanctuary was known 
as the Iseru. 

Mutinus 

Minor fertihty god. Roman. Depicted as strongly 
ithyphaUic and invoked by women seeking to bear 
children. 



208 Muttalaniman 



Muttalamman (pearl-mother) 

Plague goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 

India]. Specifically identified witii smallpox. Also 

Mutyalamma. 

Mylitta 

Goddess. Greek. The Hellenized version of the 
Akkadian goddess MULLILTU, consort of Ellil 
and of ASSUR. 



Myoken-Bodhisattva 

Astral god. Buddhist Chinese. The apotheosis of 
the Pole Star, equating with Ame-No-Kagase- 
Wo in Japanese Shintoism. 

Myrrha 

Fertility goddess. Western Semitic (Phoenician). 
Known from inscriptions as the mother of the 
god Kinnur. Also Syyrna. 



N 



NA CHA (here is a loud cry) 
ORIGIN Taoist (Chinese). Guardian god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 300 untdl 

present. 
SYNONYMS Li No Cha. 

center(s) of cult throughout Chinese culture. 
ART REFERENCES paintings and sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES various philosophical and 

religious texts, mostly inadequately researched 

and untranslated. 

A somewhat ambiguous god who is generally 
regarded as benevolent, but whose traditions hint 
at a more destructive aspect. He was horn a god of 
human parents, the reincarnation of an older 
deity. Ling Chu-Tzu, the "intelligent pearl." 
According to tradition, his father was Li Ching, 
who threatened to kill his mother because she 
claimed she was made pregnant by the mystical 
actions of a Taoist priest who told her she was to 
bear the child of a unicorn. Na Cha is said to have 
fought in the Shang-Chou war on the side of the 
Chou dynasty circa 1027 BC. His chief adversary 
was the sea dragon king. Ultimately he became 
involved with the goddess Shih-Chi Niang 
Niang, accidentally killed her attendant and, in 
remorse, committed suicide. 

Na Cha is the tutelary god of Yung Lo, the 
third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and is cred- 



ited with the mission of ridding the world of 
evil, but he himself attacks the guardians of 
both Taoist and Buddhist temples and can only 
be defended against by Li Ch'ing, the first min- 
ister of heaven. He is also titled "grand marshal 
of the skies" and "guardian of the gates of 
heaven." 

He is depicted surrounded by a red aura, with 
a white face and wearing red silk trousers which 
emanate a dazzUng golden radiance. His attrib- 
utes include a bracelet on the right wrist. Origi- 
nally he also carried a thunderbolt, but when his 
name changed to Li No Cha, circa AD 1420, this 
attribute changed to a pagoda. 

NaNgutu 

God of the dead. West and central African. Essen- 
tially the guardian deity of warriors slain in battle. 

Nabu 

God of writing and wisdom. Mesopotamian 
(Babylonian-Akkadian). The son of Marduk and 
2arpanitu(m), his consort is Tasmetu(m). He is 
sjmibolized by the inscribing stylus. A major deity 
in neo-Babylonian times from the eighth century 
BC onward, with an important sanctuary at Bor- 
sippa, near Babylon, known as the Ezida. He is 



209 



21 O Na'chitna'irgin 



considered a god of mountain regions, described 

as the "firstborn son of Marduk" and his image is 
closely involved in the New Year akitu festival. 
Also Nebo (Vetus Testammtuvi). 

Na'chitna'irgin (genuine dawn) 
Spirit of the dawn. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. 
One of four beings responsible for the different 
directions of the dawn. The brother of 
Wu'SQUUS, spirit of darkness. 

See also Tne'sgan, Mratna'irgin and LlET- 
NA'IRGIN. 

Nachvinde 

Sun god. Elamite [Iran]. 

Nagakumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 
general title of Bhavanavasi (dwelHng in places). 
They have a youthful appearance and are associ- 
ated with rain and thunder. 

Nagaraja 

Snake god. Hindu. The generic title of a deity 
equating with the terms mahoraga (great serpent) 
or nagadeva. Such deities were worshiped in India 
as early as the Indus Valley civilization (prior to 
1700 BC). 

Nagini 

Goddess. Jain [India]. The counterpart of the 
Hindu goddess Manasa. 

Nagual 

Tutelary deity. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A generic name for a personal god. A 



nagual generally takes the form of an animal and 
it may be adopted either by a mortal being or by 
another deity. 

Nahi 

Guardian god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Generally of benevolent nature. 

Nahui Ehecatl 

Alinor water god. Aztec (classical mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group of deities belonging 
to the Tlaloc complex. Also (4)Ehecatl. 

Nahui OUin (earthquake sun) 
Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. According to most of the codices, at 
the time of the Spanish conquest there had been 
four previous world ages, each represented by a 
sun and terminated by a cataclysm. Ollin, the fifth 
sun, was created at Teotihuacan and at the con- 
quest was just tmder 2,000 years old. It is presided 
over by the god TONATIUH. Each creation is con- 
sidered to last 2028 X 52 terrestrial years and the 
present one is destined to be destroyed by a great 
earthquake. Tradition has it that Ollin was origi- 
nally a sickly or humble deity named Nanahuatl 
(the diseased one). Also (4)01Un; OlUntonatiuh. 

Nai 

God of the ocean. Gan [Accra, Ghana, West 
Africa]. The second-in-command to the supreme 
god Ataa Naa Nyongmo. His eldest daughter is 
the goddess ASHIAKLE. 

Naiades 

Animistic water spirits. Greco-Roman. Female 
personalities assigned the guardianship of 



NAMMU 21 I 



fresh waters by the great gods, and invoked 
locally at sacred pools and springs. They were 
also regarded as minor patrons of music and 
poetry. 

Naigameya 

God. Hindu. Either the son or the brother of the 
god Skanda. Generally depicted with the head of 
a goat. 

Na'ininen 

Creator being. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
Known as "outer one," or "world," he is perceived 
as a remote but benevolent spirit comparable to 
the Supreme Being, Ta'yan. Also Na'rninen 
(Chukchee). 

Nai-No-Kami 

Earthquake god. Shinto [Japan]. One of the Rai- 
JIN deities responsible for thunder, storms and 
rain. His worship began in AD 599. 

Nainuema 

Creator god. Uitoto Indian [South America]. He 
created the earth from his own imagination and 
stamped upon it until it was flat. He then engen- 
dered the forests and other Uving things from his 
saUva. 

Nairamata (no soul) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Aksobhya. A Sakti of Heruka and a personifi- 
cation of knowledge. She bears five or six arms in 
different gestores and often stands upon a corpse. 
Color: blue or black. Attributes: arrows, club, cup 
and knife. Three-eyed. 



Naksatra(s) 

Generic title for a group of astral goddesses. 
Hindu. Stars or constellations which became per- 
sonified as deities, accounted as twenty-seven 
daughters of Daksa and consorts of Candra or 
Soma. They can exert benign or evil influence. 

Namasangiti {the chanting of the name) 
God. Buddhist. A form of Avalokitesvara, but 
also a distinct emanation of Vairocana. The 
personification of a sacred text. He stands upon a 
lotus. Color: white. Attributes: club, lotus, sword, 
half-staff and waterjar. 

NAMMU 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylon- 
ian-Akkadian) [Iraq]. Chthonic creator and 
birth goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 4000 BC untU 
circa 1750 BC. 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF WORSHIP mainly identified with Ur. 
ART REFERENCES Stele of Ur-Nammu (circa 

2050-1950 BC), etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES creation epics, including Enki 

and the World Order; Sumerian and Akkadian 

temple hymns and poems. 

Nammu is identified in various texts as the god- 
dess of the watery deeps. As a consort of An she 
is the mother of Enki and the power of the 
riverbed to produce water. Alternatively Nammu 
is the progenitrix of An and Ki, the archetypal 
deities of heaven and earth. She also engendered 
other early gods and in one poem is the mother of 
all mortal life. She molded clay collected by crea- 
tures called sig-en-sig-du and brought it to life, 
thus creating mankind. She is attended by seven 
minor goddesses and may ultimately have become 
syncretized with NiNHURSAGA. 



2 1 2 Namtar 



Namtar (fate) 

Messenger god(dess). Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). A go-between and either minister or 
maid-servant of the underworld goddess 
Ereskigal, who brings death to mankind at the 
appropriate time. 

Nana 

Mother goddess. Pre-Christian Armenian. Her 
cult became widespread and she may be equated 
with the Phrygian goddess Kybele. 

Nanabozho 

Heroic god. Ojibwa [Canada]. A god of hunters 
who directly influences the success or failure 
which determines whether individuals survive or 
perish. His brothers are the four winds which 
exert changes in the seasons and weather. Nan- 
abozho gained control over them to ensure good 
hunting and fishing for the Ojibwa tribe. 

Nanahuatl (rumor) 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. In cosmogony, when on the fifth day 
of creation the gods sat in judgment to elect the 
new sun god, Nanahuatl and Tecciztecatl 
cremated themselves in the sacred fire. The 
heart of Nanahuatl ascended to become the new 
sun and that of Tecciztecatl became the moon. 
Tradition suggests that Nanahuatl is diseased 
and impoverished but of great courage, while 
Tecciztecatl is wealthy and a coward. In an alter- 
native tradition, in which Nanahuatl is the son 
of QuETZALCOATL and Tecciztecatl is the son of 
Tlaloc, both deities are hurled into the fire by 
their fathers. 

NOTE: eventually all the gods sacrificed them- 
selves so that mankind might be engendered from 
their remains. Also Nanahuatzin. 



Nanaja 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). She is also a war goddess who became 
syncretized with the Babylonian Tasmetu. 

Nandi(n) (rejoicing) 

Bull god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Generally 

associated with SiVA as a bull-vehicle and an 
embodiment of fertility. Color: white. The image 
usually stands in an anteroom of the temple 
guarding the place where the statue of Siva is 
located. A Siva devotee touches the image's testi- 
cles on entry to a shrine. In anthropomorphic 
form he may be known as Nandisa. 

Nang Lha 

House god. Tibetan. A personal family guardian 
depicted with the head of a pig. He is propitiated 
with libations. 



NANNA (1) (full moon) 
ORIGEV Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. Moon 
god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3 500 BC until 

circa 1750 BC. 
SYNONYMS As-im-babbar (new light), Suen or 

Sin (crescent moon) (Akkadian). 
center(s) OF CULT Ur. 
ART references glyptics, etc. 
literary sources creation epics including Enki 

and the World Order and other texts. 

A major astral deity in the Sumerian pantheon, 
probably originating in very early pre-agricultural 
times, Nanna is the tutelary god of Ur. He is the 
firstborn son of Enlil. His wife is NiNGAL and he 
is the father of the gods Utu and ISKUR and of the 
goddess Inana. During the Third Djmasty of Ur, 
the New Year akitu festival was performed in his 



Nara 213 



honor. He was considered to light up the night, to 
measure time and to provide fertility. He is 
depicted as traveling in a carriage across the sky 
bringing light to the darkness. 

Nanna (2) 

Vegetation goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). The con- 
sort of Balder. According to some legends she 
died of a broken heart after Balder was slain by 
HODER and went with him to Hel. 
See also HODER. 

Na'nqa-ka'le 

Guardian spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
He is one of the sons of Quikinna'qu and, 
according to tradition, sits in one place all the 
time painting his belly. He is, nonetheless, per- 
ceived as a strong and heroic figure. 

Nanse 

Goddess of justice. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). A 
daughter of Enki (or Ea), she is linked with the 
interpretation of dreams. Mentioned sporadically 
in texts and most closely identified with the city 
of Lagas with a cult center at Sirara, but also the 
subject of a highly ethical hymn from Nippur. 
Also Nas, Nina. 

Nan-Sgrub (the black one) 
God. Buddhist [Tibet]. Possibly a cotmterpart of 
the Hindu god Kala. hi Lamaism he is a form of 
Yama. He stands upon a man. Color: dark blue. 
Attributes: cup and knife. 

Nantosuelta (winding river) 

Goddess of water. Celtic (GalUc). Identified as 

a possible consort of the god SUCELLOS. She 



fi-equendy holds a pole surmounted by a dove-cote. 
In addition she carries the cornucopia of a fertiHty 
or mother goddess, but is also a domestic guardian 
deity and is often depicted with ravens, which may 
suggest further Unks with the underworld. 

Napaeae 

Animistic spirits of valleys. Greco-Roman. 
Female personalities assigned the guardianship 
of fertile green valleys by the great gods and 
invoked locally in small country shrines. 

Napir 

Moon god. Elamite [Iran]. Known from inscrip- 
tions. 

Nappatecuhdi (four-times lord) 
Minor god of mat-makers. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group of 
deities belonging to the Tlaloc complex gener- 
ally associated with rain, agriculture and fertility. 

Nappinnai 

Local goddess. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). Con- 
sort of Krsna. Mentioned in the Vaisnavite and 
Saivite literature, the Krsna-Nappinnai cult was 
prominent in Tamil-speaking areas of southern 
India in the seventh to ninth centuries. According 
to tradition Krsna wed Nappinnai after a bull- 
baiting contest during which he took on and 
defeated seven bulls. Nappinnai may be a local- 
ized form of Sri-Laksmi. Also Pinnai. 

Nara (man) 

Minor incarnation(s) of the god ViSNU. Hindu 
(Epic and Puranic). Some authorities place these 
as separate avataras, but they are usually linked. 



2 1 4 Narada 



Two of the sons of Dharma, who was born from 
the heart of BRAHMA, they spent a thousand years 
as severe ascetics in the Himalaya, where they 
were subject to various temptations by INDRA. 
They are described as sages. The texts depict 
Nara colored green and bearing two hands, while 
Narayana has four hands and is colored blue. 
They may also be paralleled by Hari and Krsna. 
Also Narayana. 

Narada (giver of advice) 
Minor but popular deity. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and 
Puranic). Narada is depicted as a sage who is also 
a messenger and teacher. Born from the head, or 
throat, of Brahma, and alternatively a minor 
incarnation of ViSNU. In various roles he is a 
guardian deity of women, a musician and a wan- 
derer. Narada, often bearded, is generally 
depicted standing with the musical instrument 
which is his invention, the vina (lute). By con- 
trast to his benign nature he is also described as a 
"maker of strife" and as "vile." Also Kali-karaka; 
Pisuna. 

Naradatta (daughter of Nara) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [India]. One of sixteen 

ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Narasinha (man-lion) 

Incarnation of the god Visnu. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The fourth avatar a of the god is 
depicted as a man-lion hybrid. According to leg- 
end, the demonic king Hiranyakasipu had taken 
on a dangerous invulnerability. T) thwart this, 
Visnu took the form of Narasinha and hid inside 
a pillar of the king's palace whence he sprang, 
capturing Hiranyakasipu and tearing out his 
entrails. Iconographically, the scene is portrayed 
with the victim thrown across Narasinha's lap and 
the god's claws plunged into his body. Narasinha 



may also appear seated in a yoga position with the 
goddess Laksmi on his knee. 

Narasinhi 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti of Narasinha who is one of a group of 
AsTAMATARA mothers. In another grouping, one 
of nine Navasaktis who, in southern India, rank 
higher than the Saptamataras. Also Canddca. 

Narayana 

Creator god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). More or 
less synonymous with ViSNU, but specifically 
describing the embodiment of the "abode of 
man." He is said to have sucked his toe while sail- 
ing the primeval ocean on a banana leaf, until his 
own inspiration created the world. Often depicted 
supported by the bird god Garuda. 
See also Nara. 

Nareu 

Creator god. Melanesia [Vanuatu]. As in many 
comparable legends, he created the world inside 
the shell of a mussel. He engendered a son from 
sand and water who, in turn, created the sim and 
moon from his father's eyes, rocks from his flesh 
and bones and mankind from his spine. 

Narisah 

Goddess of light. Manichaean. The so-called 
"virgin of the light," she may also be androgynous 
as the father of the virgins of hght who equate 
with the twelve zodiac signs. 

Narkissos 

Minor god. Greek. The son of the river god 

Kephissos, he wasted away after falling in love 
with his own image reflected in water. The gods 



Nebethetpet 215 



took pity on him and changed him into the flower 
of the same name. In Roman reUgion he becomes 
Narcissus. 

Nataraja (lord of the dance) 
Form of the god SrvA. Hindu (Puranic). Emerging 
irom AD 1200 onward, this form depicts Siva as 
"lord of the dance" ringed by fire and with one foot 
on a demon in the form of a black dwarf Nataraja 
arguably epitomizes the moving power in the cos- 
mos. Largely seen in southern Indian bronzes 
which display the dance-form anandatandava. 

Natha 

Tutelary god. Buddhist [Sri Lanka]. One of 
four local emanations of the BODHISATTVA 
AVALOKITESVARA. 

Naunet 

Primordial goddess. Egyptian. One of the eight 
deities of the Ogdoad representing chaos, she is 
coupled with the god NUN and appears in anthro- 
pomorphic form but with the head of a snake. 
The pair epitomize the primordial abyss. She is 
also depicted greeting the rising sun in the guise 
of a baboon. 

Navadurga(s) 

Generic title of a group of deities. Hindu. The 
nine forms of the god DuRGA. The common 
vehicle is a chariot shaped Uke a lotus. Each car- 
ries a wide assortment of attributes. 

Navasakti(s) 

Generic title of a group of goddesses. Hindu. 
The nine Mataras or mothers. In southern India 
they are considered virgin goddesses and are held 
in higher esteem that the comparable group of 

Saptamataras. 



Nayenezgani (slayer of alien gods) 
God of war. Navaho [USA]. The most powerful 
of the Navaho war gods. The son of the sun 
god TsohanoaI and the fertility goddess 
ESTSANATLEHI. According to tradition, he van- 
quished a race of giants who had nearly destroyed 
the human race. He is a benevolent god, ready to 
help mankind in times of trouble. He also cures 
diseases brought about through witchcraft. Said 
to live at the junction of two rivers in the 
San Juan valley, he is invoked by warriors prepar- 
ing for battle. His priest wears a buckskin bag 
mask, painted black and adorned with five zigzag 
lightning streaks, the eye and mouth holes 
covered with white sea shells. He also wears a 
fox skin collar, a crimson cloth around the hips 
and a leather belt with silver ornamentation, but 
is otherwise naked. No depictions are made of 
this deity. 

Ndaula 

Plague god. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. Par- 
ticularly associated with smallpox. His shrines are 
usually situated on the edge of a community and 
on the frontiers of the tribal land so that he may 
be invoked to keep the disease in neighboring 
territory. 

Ndjambi 

Sky god. Herero [Namibia, southwest Africa]. A 
benevolent deity who protects and lifts up all who 
die namral deaths. The utterance of his name is 
generally forbidden. 

Nebethetpet 

Local primordial goddess. Egyptian. She was 
worshiped in Heliopolis and is a female counter- 
part to the sun god Atum in creation mythology. 

Specifically she is the hand with which he grasped 
his penis to self-create the cosmos. 



216 Nebo 



Nebo 

God of writing and wisdom. Western Semitic. 
Known from Syrio-Palestinian inscriptions and 
equating to the Akkadian Nabu. Mentioned in 
the Vetus Testamentum. 

Nediyon 

Creator god. Early Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India]. Equates with a syncretization of ViSNU 
and Krsna. The name implies a deity of tall 
stature. Sangam texts describe him wearing a 
golden robe. Attributes: conch, prayer wheel and 
lotus. Also Neduvel. 

Nefertum 

Minor god of primordial creation. Egyptian 
(Lower). Specifically he is the blue lotus blossom of 
Re. Nefertum was worshiped in the Nile delta as 
the son of the cobra goddess Wadjet. At Memphis 
he is the son of the goddess SakhmET, while else- 
where in Lower Egypt his mother is considered to 
be the goddess Bastet. Also Nephthemis (Greek). 

Negun 

Minor goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Known from limited references and of uncertain 
function. Possibly associated with the goddess 
Sirara. Her brother is Asai and they are Hnked 
with the cities of Adab and Kes. Also Lisin. 

Nehalennia 

Goddess of seafarers. Romano-Celtic. Worshiped 
extensively between the second and thirteenth 
centuries AD, particularly in the Netherlands 
with sanctuaries at Domberg at the mouth of the 
Rhine and CoHjnsplaat on the Scheldt. Probably 
began as a tribal deity of the Morini tribe. She 
is generally depicted with the attributes of 



fertility — a basket of fruit or cornucopia. She 

may also often have a small lapdog. Alternatively, 
she stands with one foot on the prow of a boat 
and grasps an oar or the rope. 

Nehebu-Kau 

Minor snake god. Egyptian. Known from circa 
1500 BC. Essentially a chthonic deity he is, 
according to tradition, the son of the god Geb. 
Allegedly having eaten seven cobras, Nehebu- 
Kau offers protection against snake bite and scor- 
pion sting. He is also one of the guardians of the 
Egyptian king in the afterhfe. 

Neit 

Giod of war. Celtic (Irish). A minor deity identi- 
fied as the consort of the goddess MORRIGAN in 
her aspect as Nemain. Also the grandfather of 
Balor, he was killed at the second legendary Bat- 
tie of Moytura. 

NEITH 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Creator goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 EC until 

the end of Egyptian history circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult Sais [Sa el-Hagar] in the 
Nile delta. 

ART REFERENCES various Sculptures, reliefs and 

wall paintings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts; a papyrus 

from Dynasty XX; etc. 

Neith is a goddess of Lower Egypt specifically 
associated with Sais but soon becoming part of the 
national pantheon with a sanctuary at Memphis. 
According to legend, when Neith emerged from 
the primeval ocean to create the world, she fol- 
lowed the course of the Nile down toward the sea 



Nephthys 217 



and, on reaching the delta, founded the city of Sais. 
She is also a birth goddess both of the cosmos and 
of other deities when she is depicted as the great 
celestial cow. She is the mother of Egyptian rulers. 

Neith is depicted in human form wearing the 
red crown of Lower Egypt and in ancient times 
her pre-anthropomorphic symbol was a shield 
bearing crossed arrows. She was sometimes called 
upon for advice and judgment, as in the case of 
the eighty-year battle of the gods between Seth 
and HORUS, when she advised the sun god Re in 
favor of Horus. In other legends she becomes the 
consort of Seth and the mother of the crocodile 
god SOBEK. 

Nekhbet 

Local mother goddess. Egyptian (Upper). Known 
from Nekhab (el-Kab), she is generally depicted 
in the form of a vulture with one or both wings 
spread and holding the symbols of eternity in her 
talons. Nekhbet is knovm from at least 3000 BC 
and is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts as the 
"great white cow" — a familiar epithet in respect 
of Egyptian mother or creator goddesses. 

Nekmet Awai 

Goddess of justice. Egyptian. Locally known 
from HermopoUs, she later became syncretized 
vnth the goddess Hathor. 

Nemausius 

God of water. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). Associ- 
ated locally with a sacred spring at Nimes in 
France. 

Nemesis 

Goddess of justice and revenge. Greco-Roman. 
The dreaded deity who, with the Furies, is 



responsible for transporting the souls of the guilty 
to Tartarus. She is also described as the deification 
of indignation. Her presence may be symboHzed 
by the fabulous winged griffon. Her cult was pre- 
dominandy at Rhamnus (Attica), where a mag- 
nificent temple was built in her honor in the fifth 
century BC, and in Smyrna. She also had a temple 
at Iconium in Asia Minor. According to legend, 
Zeus raped her and she bore Helen in conse- 
quence. In certain respects she provides a paral- 
lel with the goddess Erinys. Her cult became one 
of moraUty. 

Nemetona 

Goddess of sacred groves. Romano-Celtic. Con- 
sort to the Roman deity Mars. Evidenced at 
places such as Bath (England) and Mainz (Ger- 
many); but also in place names which include the 
etymological base nemeton (a shrine). 

Ne'nenkicex 

Creator god. Kamchadal [southeastern Siberia]. 
The name given to the Christian god by the 
Kamchadals under influence of the Russian 
Orthodox church. 

Neper 

God of grain crops. Egyptian. The son of the 
snake spirit Renenutet, he is subservient to 
Hapy, the god of the Nile flood, and has links 
with Osiris as a vegetation deity who dies and is 
reborn to the afterlife. In female form the deity 
becomes Nepit. 

Nephthys [Greek] 

Funerary goddess. Egyptian. Nephthys is the 
younger sister of Isis, OsiRis and Seth, who are 
the offspring of the chthonic god Geb and the 



2 1 8 Neptunus 



sky goddess NUT in the Ennead genealogy of 
Egyptian deities defined by the priests of 
Hehopohs. Nephthys is depicted in human form 
wearing a crown in the style of the hieroglyphic 
for a mansion, the translation of her Egyptian 
name. She can also take the form of a hawk 
watching over the funeral bier of Osiris. Accord- 
ing to legend Nephthys liaised briefly with Osiris 
and bore the mortuary god Anubls. She is said to 
guide the dead Egyptian ruler through the dark 
underworld and to weep for him. Also Neb-hut 
(Egyptian). 

Neptunus 

God of irrigation. Italic and Roman. Identified 
with the planet Neptune, but thought to have 
originated as an agricultural deity concerned with 
watering. He was celebrated in the festival of Nep- 
tunalia on July 23. Also the patron deity of horse- 
racing. He became syncretized with the Greek 
god Poseidon, but Neptune's modern associa- 
tion with the sea is a misrepresentation. 

Nereides 

Animistic spirits of the sea. Greco-Roman. 
Eemale personalities, the best known of whom is 
Amphitrite, assigned the guardianship of the 
oceans by the great gods and invoked by seafarers. 
Also attendants of the god POSEIDON. 

Nereus 

Minor sea god. Greek. The son of PONTOS and 
Gaia, and the father of the Nereides. 
See also PROTEUS. 

NERGAL 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylon- 
ian-Akkadian) [Iraq]. Chthonic underworld god. 



KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 3500 BC to 

circa 200 BC. 
SYNONYMS Erakal, Lugalgirra, Meslamtaea. 
center(s) of cult Kuthu and Tarbisu. 
ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae and 

glyptics. 

LITERARY SOURCES Cuneiform texts particularly 
Nergal and Ereskigal. 

The son of Enlil and Ninlil and the consort of 
the underworld goddess Ereskigal. He is 
depicted as a god of war and sudden death as well 
as being ruler of the underworld. He may be also 
seen as a plague god. His sanctuary is known as 
the Emeslam. He is usually depicted as a bearded 
figure emerging from the ground and carrying 
a double-edged mace-scimitar tj^pically embel- 
hshed with lion heads. By the Hellenic period he 
is identified with the god Herakles. 

Nerrivik 

Sea goddess. Inuit. The mother of all sea crea- 
tures, invoked by fishermen and seal hunters. 
See also Sedna. 

NERTHUS (nonh) 

ORIGIN probably Danish [Sjaeland, Denmark]. 

Fertihty goddess associated with peace. 
known period OF WORSHIP circa ad 100, though 

probably much earlier, until AD 400 or later 

(difficult to determine). 
SYNONYMS none known. 

center(s) of worship a sacred grove "in an 
island of the ocean" identified only by the 
writer Tacitus. 

ART references none. 

LITERARY SOURCES Germania 40 (Tacitus). 

Some authors argue that Nerthus is a female 
counterpart, possibly the sister, of the Viking god 



Nike 219 



NjORD. Tacitus alludes to her as Terra Mater 
and describes how her cult statue was carried 
around in a covered sacred wagon drawn by oxen 
(see also Freyr). 

The vehicle was taboo to all but the priest of 
the goddess and, after each tour, was returned to 
the grove where it was washed and stored. 
All ministering attendants were immediately 
slaughtered. A pair of elaborate ceremonial wag- 
ons, dated to about AD 200, were excavated from 
a peat bog at Dejbjerg (Denmark) and are 
thought to be of a type that carried such a deity. 

Nesu 

Tutelary god of royalty. Fon [Benin, West Africa] . 
The guardian of the tribal chiefs, his shrine, the 
Nese-we, is located close by royal palaces. 

Nethuns 

God of fresh water. Etruscan. Identified with 
wells and springs and depicted as a naked bearded 
figure. He is probably to be equated with the 
Roman god Neptunus. 

Neti 

Chthonic underworld god. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian and Babylonian -Akkadian). Chief 
gatekeeper of the netherworld. The servant of 
the goddess Ereskigal. Neti features promi- 
nently in the epic legend of Inana's Descent into 
the Underworld when he opens the seven gates 
of the realm and admits the goddess, removing 
one emblem of her power at the threshold of 
each gate. 

Nextepehua (ash-scatterer) 
Minor chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classi- 
cal Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 



of deities belonging to the MiCTLANTECUHTLl 
complex. 

Ngai 

Creator god. Kikuyu and Masai [East Africa]. The 
name given to a single god in the heavens, influ- 
enced by the spread of Christianity. He is also per- 
ceived as, and may have evolved from, a weather 
god whose presence is symbolized by hghtning. 

Ngunuwo 

Generic title of guardian deities. Ewe [Togo, 
West Africa]. The name means, approximately, 
the fates. 

Ni 

Sea god. Chimu Indian (pre-Columbian South 
America) [coastal areas of Peru]. A significant 
deity in the pantheon, revered by fishermen. 
Often Unked with Si, the moon god. 

Niamye 

Creator god. Baule [Ivory Coast, West Africa]. 
He engendered a consort for himself and 
proceeded to create all other living things on 
earth. His anger is evidenced by lightning and 
thunderbolts. 

Niha-Tsu-Hi-No-Kami 

Eire god. Shinto [Japan]. Specifically the fire KAMI 
responsible for household fires in the yard. 

Nike 

Goddess of victory. Greco-Roman. Depicted as a 
winged messenger bringing the laurel wreath to 
the victor of battle. Though of Greek origin. 



220 Nikkal 



appearing in the Theogony of Hesiod, she was 
adopted by the Romans and worshiped 
extensively throughout Asia Minor, including 
Sardis. In some depictions the goddess Athena 
carries NiKE as a small winged figure. Also 
Victoria (Roman). 

Nikkal 

Moon goddess. Western Semitic (Syrian). The 
consort of the moon god Jarih and probably 
evolved from the Mesopotamian pantheon. 

Niladanda 

God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian deity of the 
southwestern quarter. Color: blue. Attributes: 
jewel, lotus, staff, sword and trident. 

Niladevi (black goddess) 
Consort of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Puranic). 
Mentioned only in the Vaikhanasagama text as the 
third wife of Visnu, no art representation of this 
goddess has been discovered. She may be identi- 
cal with the goddess Pinnai known in Tamil- 
speaking regions. 

Nilalohita 

God. Hindu. One of the Ekadasarudras or 
eleven forms of the god RUDRA. 

Nin Ezen (La) 

Goddess. Sumerian. An alternative name for the 
goddess of healing, GULA. 

Nin Mar Ki 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). See 
NiNMAH. 



Nin Me En 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Probably 
equating to NiNMENA. 

NinUr 

God. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Probably syn- 
onymous with NiNURTA. 

Ninazu 

Chthonic god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Less 
frequently encountered in the texts than Ner- 
GAL. Son of Enlil and NiNLiL or, in alternative 
traditions, of Ereskigal and the father of 
Ning-is-zida. The patron deity of Esnunna until 
superseded by TiSPAK. His sanctuaries are 
the E-sikil and E-kurma. Also identified as a 
god of healing, he is (unlike Nergal) generally 
benevolent. 

Nindara 

God. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). The consort of 
the goddess Nanse. 

Nindub 

C5od. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Locally known 
and identified with the city state of Lagas. 

Ninegal (strong-armed lord) 
God of smiths. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). A minor patron deity. 

Ningal (great queen) 

Reed goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian- Akkadian). Ningal is the daughter 
of Enki and NiNGiKUGA and the consort of 
the moon god Nanna by whom she bore Utu 



NINHURSAGA 221 



the sun god. She was probably first worshiped 
by cow-herders in the marsh lands of 
southern Mesopotamia. Chiefly recognized 
at Ur. 

Ningikuga (lady of the pure reed) 
Goddess of reeds and marshes. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian). One of the 
consorts of Enki and the daughter of An and 
Nammu. 

Ningilin 

Obscure deity. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian- Akkadian). His symbol is probably 
the mongoose. Also NinkiUm. 

Ningirama 

God of magic. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian- Akkadian). A minor deity invoked 
particularly as a protection against snakes. 

Ningirsu 

Tutelary god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). His mother is Ninhur- 
SAGA. Known from the city of Lagas (Girsu) 
where Gudea built a major temple in his honor, 
the Eninnu. His symbol is a lion-headed eagle and 
his weapon the mace Sarur. Texts describe 
Ningirsu making a journey to Eridu to notify the 
god Enki of Gudea's achievement. 

Ningiszida 

The god of light coming from the horizon. 
Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Tutelary god of Gudea of Lagas, the 
son of NiNAZU. Identified in Akkadian texts and 
on a seal of Gudea. Also GiSZlDA. 



NINHURSAGA (queen of the mountain) 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylon- 
ian-Akkadian) [Iraq]. Mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3 500 BC until 
circa 1750 BC. 

SYNONYMS NiNMAH (great queen); NiNTU (lady 
of birth); Mama or Mami (mother); Aruru 
(sister of Enlil); Belet-ili (lady of the gods — 
Akkadian). Minor synonyms include Nin- 
ziznak (lady of the embryo); Nin-dim (lady 
fashioner); Nagar-sagak (carpenter of insides); 
Nin-bahar (lady potter); Nin-mag (lady vulva); 
Nin-sig-sig (lady of silence); Mud-kesda 
(blood-stauncher); Ama-dug-bad (mother 
spreading the knees); Ama-ududa (mother who 
has given birth); Sag-zu-dingirenak (midwife 
of the gods); Ninmenna (lady of the diadem). 

center(s) of WORSHIP Tell el 'Ubaid [Ur]. Mari. 
Other temples, according to literature, were 
located at Kes, Adab (modern Bismaya) and 
Hiza, none of which have been found. Smaller 
temples and shrines scattered around southern 
Mesopotamia and beyond. 

art references plaques, votive stelae, glyptics. 

LITERARY SOURCES Cuneiform texts — epics includ- 
ing Enki and World Order and Creator of the Hoe, 
temple hymns, etc. 

Ninhursaga is one of seven great deities of Sumer. 
Assuming her symbol to be the §omega, it has 
been depicted in art from circa 3000 BC;, though 
more generally from early second millennium. It 
appears on some kudurru boundary stones — on 
the upper tier, which indicates her importance. 
She is principally a fertility goddess though tech- 
nically any female deity could take on the role. 
Temple hymn sources identify her as the "true and 
great lady of heaven" and kings of Sumer were 
"nourished by Ninhursaga 's milk." Distinct from 
the goddess INANA, she enjoys closer Unks with 
fecundity and birth and is sometimes portrayed as 
a midwife, or with bosom bare and carrying a 



222 Ninigi 



baby on her left arm. She is typically depicted 
wearing horned headdress and tiered skirt; often 
with bow cases at her shoulders; not infrequently 
carrying a mace or baton surmounted by the 
omega motif or a derivation; sometimes accompa- 
nied by a lion cub on a leash. The tutelary deity 
to several Sumerian rulers, in Creator of the Hoe 
she completed the birth of mankind after the 
heads had been uncovered by Enki's hoe. 

Most Mesopotamian gods lived in mountains and 
the name Ninhursaga bears significance because, 
according to legend, it was changed from NiNMAH 
by her son NlNURX\ to commemorate his creation 
of the mountains. Her name "lady of silence" 
derives from the notion that the child in the womb 
is susceptible to both good and bad influence. Thus 
the wrong incantations may jeopardize the child's 
well-being. As "lady of the diadem," according to 
a Babylonian investiture ritual, she placed the 
golden crown on the king in the Eanna temple. 

Ninigi (Prince) 

Ancestral god. Shinto [Japan]. The deity who, 
according to tradition, is the heir apparent of the 
sun goddess Amaterasu. He was sent to earth 
from heaven to rule at the behest of the gods. His 
parents are Taka-Mi-Musubi and Ame-No-Oshi- 
Ho-Mimi and he takes the title of "divine grand- 
child." He is the ancestral deity of the imperial 
dynasties. 

Nin-Ildu 

God of carpenters. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Minor tutelary deity. 

Nin-Imma 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). Deification of the female 
sex organs, fathered by Enki with Ninkurra. 



Nin'insinna 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). A daughter of An and 
Uras and probably an alternative name for Istar. 
She is the consort of the god Pabilsag and is men- 
tioned in respect of a sanctuary built by Warad 
Sin during the Isin dynasty. Texts describe her 
going to present EnUl with gifts in Nippur. Other 
inscriptions suggest she was the mother of the 
god Damu (Dumuzi). 

Ninkamunna 

Barber god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian- Akkadian). An attendant of the god 
Ninurta. 

Ninldgal 

Chthonic god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Worshiped at Ur and Umma 
during the period of the third dynasty of Ur. 
Celebrations included the eses monthly lunar 
festivals. 

Ninkurra 

Minor mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian- Akkadian). Ninkurra is linked 
briefly as consort to Enlil (her grandfather), by 
whom after nine days of gestation she gave birth 
to the goddess Uttu. In alternative mythology she 
was the mother of Nin-imma, the deification of 
female sex organs. 

Ninlil 

Goddess of the air and of grain. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian). She is the daughter of the god of 
stores, Haia, and the barley goddess, Ninsebar- 
gunnu. The consort of the air god Enlil, who 
impregnated her with water to create the moon 



Nintu 223 



god Nana, she also conceived the underworld god 
Nergal when Enlil impregnated her disguised as 
the gateman of Nippur. In a similar manner she 
conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil 
impregnated her disguised as the "man of the 
river of the nether world, the man-devouring 
river." According to some texts she is also the 
mother of Ninurta, the god of the plough and 
thunderstorms. 

Nininah 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian 
and Babylonian-Akkadian). Probably an early 
syncretization with Ninhursaga. Identified in 
creation texts acting as midwife while the 
mother goddess Nammu makes different 
kinds of human individuals from lumps of clay 
at a feast given by Enki to celebrate the 
creation of humankind. Also regarded as 
the mother of the goddess Uttu by Enki. 
See also Ninhursaga. 

Ninmena {lady of the crown) 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 

Probably became syncretized with Ninhursaga. 

Ninni 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). A modern 
mis-reading of Innin, which is itself an outmoded 
version of the name Inana. 

Nin-sar (lady plant) 

Minor mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). Nin-sar is linked briefly as consort to either 
Enlil (her father) or Enki by whom, after nine 
days of gestation, she gave birth to the goddess 
Ninkurra who, in turn, became the mother of the 
goddess Uttu. 



Ninsildl 

The goddess of Dilmun. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). The patron deity of the mythical paradise 
land of Dilmun which seems to have been per- 
ceived as somewhere off the coast of the Persian 
Gulf but firmly beyond the frontiers of Sumer. It 
is Ninsikil who pleads with Enki to provide the 
earth with the boon of fresh water in the sacred 
rivers Tigris and Euphrates. 

Ninsubur 

Messenger god(dess). Mesopotamian (Sumerian 
and Babylonian -Akkadian). The servant of the 
goddess Inana, she is particularly prominent in 
the legend of Inana's Descent and the Death of 
Dumuzi. In Akkadian texts the sex changes to a 
male personahty, the minister of Anu. 

Ninsun(a) (lady wild cow) 

Cow goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 

Babylonian-Akkadian). Tutelary goddess of 

Gudea of Lagas. Consort of the Sumerian heroic 
king Lugalbanda and also identified as the mother 
of the hero Gilgames. 

Ninsusinak 

National god. Elamite [Iran]. Derived from a 
Sumerian model. 

Nintinugga 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). See Gula. 
Nintu 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). According to legend she 
pinched off fourteen pieces of primordial clay 
which she formed into womb deities, seven on 



224 NINURTA 



the left and seven on the right with a brick 
between them, who produced the first seven pairs 
of human embryos. She is closely identified with 
the goddess Ninhursaga and may have become 
Belet Ili (mistress of the gods) when, at Enid's 
suggestion, the gods slew one among themselves 
and used his blood and flesh, mixed with clay, to 
create mankind. 

NINURTA (lord plough) 

Orgin Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylon- 
ian-Akkadian) [Iraq]. God of thunderstorms 
and the plough. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 3500 BC to 
200 BC. 

SYNONYMS probably Ningirsu. 
center(s) of cult Nippur and, as Ningirsu, at 
Girsu. 

ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae, glyptics, 
etc. 

LITERARY SOXJRCES creation epics including ^fr«- 
hasis and Anzu; temple hymns, etc. 

Ninurta is the Sumerian god of farmers and is 
identified with the plough. He is also the god of 
thunder and the hero of the Sumerian pantheon, 
closely linked with the confrontation battles 
between forces of good and evil that characterize 
much of Mesopotamian Uterature. He is one of 
several challengers of the malignant dragon or 
serpent Kur said to inhabit the empty space 
between the earth's crust and the primeval sea 
beneath. Ninurta is the son of EnHl and Ninhur- 
saga, alternatively Ninlil, and is the consort of 
Gula, goddess of healing. He is attributed with 
the creation of the mountains which he is said to 
have built from giant stones with which he had 
fought against the demon Asag. 

He wears the horned helmet and tiered skirt 
and carries a weapon Sarur which becomes per- 
sonified in the texts, having its own intelUgence 



and being the chief adversary, in the hands of 
Ninurta, of Kur. He carries the double-edged 
scimitar-mace embelhshed with lions' heads and, 
according to some authors, is depicted in non- 
human form as the thunderbird Imdugud (sUng 
stone), which bears the head of a lion and may 
represent the hailstones of the god. His sanctuary 
is the E-padun-tila. 

Ninurta is perceived as a youthful warrior and 
probably equates with the Babylonian heroic god 
Marduk. His cult involved a journey to Eridu 
from both Nippur and Girsu. He may be com- 
pared with Iskur, who was worshiped primarily by 
herdsmen as a storm god. 

Nirmali 

Birth goddess. Kafir [Afghanistan]. Goddess of 
the childbirth but usually separated from the rest 
of the village. She is invoked by women during 
labor or menstruation. Her sacred animal is the 
ram. There is an argument that she is, in feet, a 
manifestation of the goddess Disani rather than a 
distinct deity. Also Shuwe. 

Niriti (destruction) 

1. Destructive goddess of darkness. Hindu (Vedic 
and Puranic). Known chiefly from the Rg-veda, 
Nirrti has a generally malignant aspect and is 
associated with pain, misfortune and death. She is 
beheved to Hve in the south (the land of the dead). 
She is dark-skinned, wears dark dress and receives 
the "dark husks" of sacrifice. She is feared by 
many Hindus, whose offerings are frequent and 
repeated, hi later Hinduism, Nirrti changes sex 
and becomes a dikpala god of terrifying appear- 
ance, guarding the southwestern quarter; he has 
various consorts including Davi, Kalika and 
Krsnangi. He stands upon a lion, a man or a 
corpse. Attributes: javelin, shield, staff, sword and 
teeth. 



Nona 225 



2. God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian. Color: 
blue. Stands upon a corpse. Attributes: shield 
and sword. 

Niruktipratisamvit 

Goddess of etymological analysis. Buddhist 
(Vajrayana). One of a group of four. Color: red. 
Attributes: chain and lotus. 

Nissaba 

Goddess of writing and wisdom. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian). A daughter of An and probably orig- 
inally a vegetation deity. Her symbol is the 
inscribing stylus. She is a patron deity of Unug 
[Warka]. 

Nispannatara 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). 
NJORD (north) 

ORIGEV Nordic (Icelandic). God of the sea and 
winds. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period circa 
AD 700 and earlier, until Christianization (circa 
AD 1100). 

SYNONYMS possibly Nerthus, though with 
change of sex from female to male. 

center(s) of cult none known, but many place 
names along the Norwegian coast and inland by 
lakes and i^ords suggest a widespread devotion. 

ART references none known, but probably the 
subject of anonymous carvings. 

literary sources Icelandic codices; Prose 
Edda (Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); runic 
inscriptions. 

Njord originates as a Vanir deity, but during 
the war between Vanir and Aesir he is handed 



over as a hostage and becomes the pledge of 
truce between the two races. He is a god of 
seafarers and fishermen, and brings the wealth 
of the sea to mankind. He also controls the 
winds and storms. Consort of Skadi, the daugh- 
ter of the giant Thiassi, he is the father of Freyr 
and Freyja. According to one poem, he lives 
among an enclosure of ships, Noatun. The 
use of ships as burial chambers was probably 
closely associated with Njord, and further links 
between ships and fertility seem well estab- 
lished, strengthening the connection with this 
Vanir deity. 

Nodotus 

Minor god of cereal crops. Romano-Celtic. 
Specifically the deity responsible for the well- 
being of grain stalks. 

Nomi-No-Sukune 

God of Sumo wrestlers. Shinto [Japan]. Accord- 
ing to tradition in the Nihongi text he came 
to prominence during the reign of the 
emperor Suinin-Tenno when he matched and 
worsted a strong man, Kuyahaya, in a wrestling 
contest. He killed the latter by aiming a kick 
at his ribs. 

Nommo 

Generic title of a group of gods. Dogon [West 
Africa]. The primordial spirits at the head of 
whom is the creator god Amma. They are associ- 
ated with rain and fertihty and have imparted cer- 
tain skills to mankind. 

Nona 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. Responsible for 
the ninth month of gestation, she is often linked 



226 Nong 



with the goddess Decima. In later Roman times 
she becomes one of a trio of goddesses of fate, 
with Decima and MORTA, the goddess of death, 
collectively known as the Parcae. 

Nong 

God of winter and cold weather. Kafir 
[Afghanistan]. Nong lives in a glacier. He cracks 
the ice and is seen in the melt water. He is per- 
ceived as a misogynist and depicted in a wooden 
effigy, though whether in human form is 
unclear. His cult center seems to have been the 
village of Zumu in the southern Hindukush. 
Also Zuzum. 

Nortia 

Goddess of fate. Etruscan. She enjoyed an impor- 
tant sanctuary at Volsini, where her presence was 
symbolized by a large nail. In a New Year rite, the 
nail was hammered into a block of wood, proba- 
bly derived from an old fertility ritual symboUz- 
ing the impregnation of life into the new year. She 
has been identified with the Greek goddess 
Tyche. 

Nosenga 

Tribal god. Korekore (Shona) [Zimbabwe, south- 
ern Africa]. He is accessible to mankind through 
a mortal medium or oracle known as Hore, who 
Uves in the town of the tribal chief and is con- 
sulted only with the chiefs permission. Nosenga 
has several human priestess consorts who are 
wedded to him in chastity in the fashion of 
Christian nuns. 

Notus 

God of the southwest winds. Roman. Derived 
from a Greek model. Also Auster. 



Nrtya (dance) 

Mother goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of the ASTAMATARAS. Color: green or various. 
Attribute: staff. 

Nsongo 

Moon goddess. Bangala [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. The sister and consort of 
the supreme sun god Libanza. In the epic legend 
of Nsongo and Lianja she is the twin sister and 
consort of a deified folk-hero. 

NuKua 

Creator goddess. Chinese. A primordial deity 
who may be androgynous and who engendered 
mankind out of lumps of yellow clay. The inven- 
tion of the flute is also attributed to her. Also Nu- 
Gua. 

Nu Mus Da 

Tutelary god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). The 
patron deity of the lost city of Kazallu, mentioned 
in texts. 

NUADU (wealth) 

ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Tribal war god associated 
with healing. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP prehistoric times 
until Christianization circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS Nuada argatlam; Nodens (Romano- 
Celtic); Nudd (Welsh). 

CENTER(s) OF CULT the best known is the sanc- 
tuary of Nodens at Lydney, Gloucestershire, 
England. 

ART REFERENCES none Specific, though possibly 
the subject of anonymous carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 
Kings; votive inscriptions. 



NUT 227 



One of the TUATHA DE Danann who lost an 
arm at the Battle of Moytura against the Fir Bolg. 
The arm was replaced by the physician god 
DiANCECHT who made a prosthesis out of silver, 
hence Nuada argatlam (Nuadu of the silver hand). 
The original sanctuary at Lydney in Gloucester- 
shire was taken over and enlarged by the Romans 
who renamed the god Nodens. Also considered to 
be the father of the Irish royal dynasty. 

Nudimmud 

Creator god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Rapidly 
syncretized with the Akkadian god Ea. 

Nuli'rahak (big woman) 
Sea spirit. Siberian Inuit. A fearsome old woman 
who lives in the ocean depths and owns all the sea 
creatures. She feeds off the bodies of drowned 
fishermen. 
See also Aena'kuagsak. 

Nun 

Primordial god. Egyptian. One of the eight 
deities of the Ocjdoad representing chaos, he is 
coupled with the goddess Naunet and appears in 
anthropomorphic form but with the head of a 
frog. No cult is addressed to Nun but he is typi- 
cally depicted holding aloft the solar barque or 
the sun disc. He may appear greeting the rising 
sun in the guise of a baboon. Nun is otherwise 
symbolized by the presence of a sacred cistern or 
lake as in the sanctuaries of Karnak and Dendara. 

Nunbarsegunu 

Obscure mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian and Babylonian-Akkadian). Mentioned in cre- 
ation texts as the "old woman of Nippur," she is 
identified as the mother of NiNLlL, the air goddess. 



Nunbarsegunu allegedly instructs her daughter in 
the arts of obtaining the attentions of Enlil. 

Nurelli (Nooralie) 

Creator god. Australian aboriginal. Chiefly 
revered among the Wiimbaio aborigines Hving in 
the area of the Murray River, he is believed to 
have created the land of Australia and then 
brought law and order to humankind. His son is 
Gnawdenoorte. 

Nusku 

God of light. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). The son of Enlil. Also a 
god of fire, he is symbolized by a lamp. Sanctuar- 
ies have been identified at Harran and Neirab. 

NUT 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Creator goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC and 
probably earlier, until the end of Egyptian his- 
tory circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS none. 

CENTER(s) of cult Heliopolis, Karnak and 
many other sanctuaries throughout Egypt. 

ART REFERENCES wall paintings in the royal 
tombs at Thebes; sarcophagi, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts, etc. 

Nut is the most important female principle of the 
creation force in Egyptian cosmogony. According 
to the Ennead genealogy of the Heliopolis priests, 
she is the daughter of the god Su and the goddess 
Tefnut. Generally, however, she is seen as the 
creator goddess who, with the sun god, gives birth 
to the other deities of the pantheon. In legend she 
becomes the consort of her brother, the chthonic 
god Geb. Their partnership generates Isis, 
Osiris, Seth and Nephthys. In her earUest 



228 Nu'tenut 



appearances Nut is a celestial cow stretching 
across the sky, often held aloft by the figure of the 
air god Su. This depiction continues into later 
times. In human form she often appears as a slim, 
arched figure, nude and balanced on her toes and 
fingertips, which touch the four cardinal points of 
the compass. In this postare she forms an arch 
over Geb, whose erect penis points upwards 
toward her. She is alternatively often supported 
and separated from Geb by Su. 

Nut is perceived as the barrier of the firma- 
ment which separates the ordered cosmos from 
primordial matter. The thunder is her laughter. 
The solar barque travels along the arch of her 
body, entering her mouth as night falls to pass 
through her and emerge at dawn from her 
vulva. 

In a funerary context, when the ruler dies he is 
said to be enfolded by the arms of Nut and to pass 
within her body: "the doors of the sky are opened 
to him." 

Nu'tenut 

Earth spirit. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. The 
owner of the world who sits in a large house built 
of iron. He is surrounded by the spirits of sun, 
moon, sky, sea, dawn, darkness and world who 
are suitors for his daughter (unnamed). 

Nyakaya 

Crocodile goddess. Shilluk [Sudan]. A deity resid- 
ing in the Nile, she is the consort of Okwa and the 
mother of the first Shilluk king. ShUluks continue 
to sacrifice to Nyakaya. 

Nyame 

Creator god. Akan [southern Ghana, West 
Africa]. An androgynous being symboUzed in his 



male aspect by the sun, and his female aspect by 
the moon. He gave mankind its soul and is the 
controller of destiny. He enjoys a dedicated 
priesthood and is worshiped in the form of a tree 
trunk. Also Odomankoma; Onyame; Onyanko- 
pon; Tbtrobonsu. 

gNyan 

Tree spirits, Tibetan. Malevolent forces residing 
in the mountains which can bring sickness or 
death. 

Nyavirezi 

Lion goddess. Rwanda [central Africa]. According 
to legend she was originally a mortal daughter of 
the tribal chief While walking, she was trans- 
formed into a lioness. Though returning to 
human form, she occasionally became leonine 
again and, in this guise, slew at least one husband 
who discovered her secret. 

Nyx 

Primordial goddess. Greek. The essence of the 
night whose sons were the twin brothers Hypnos, 
god of sleep, and Thanatos, god of death. 

Nzambi 

Creator god. Bakongo [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. He created the first mor- 
tal pair or, in alternative tradition, an androgy- 
nous being in the guise of a palm tree called 
Muntu Walunga (the complete person). He also 
endowed this being with intelligence. In wooden 
sculptures the tree bears a woman's head and 
breast on one side and a bearded face on the 
other. Eventually the tree divided into two sepa- 
rate sexes. Also Nyambi; Nzambe; Yambe; Zambi. 



Nze 229 



Nzapa 

Creator god. Ngbandi [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. One of seven deities 
invoked at sunrise each morning. The progeni- 
tor of all life on earth, he also gave mankind 
laws and controls destiny or fate. He has four 
children who specifically appear in the guise of 
palm trees. 



Nze 

Moon god. Ngbandi [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. One of the seven children 
of Ketua, the god of fortune and LOMO, the god- 
dess of peace. He is closely linked with women 
and fertility. At menstruation he is said to have 
"cut the girl" and, during pregnancy, "the moon 
is dark for her." 



o 



Obarator 

God of agriculture. Roman. Specifically respon- 
sible for overseeing the top-dressing of crops. 

Obatala 

Fertility god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. The 
first deity engendered by the creator god Olodu- 
MARE. His consort is Yemowo. Among other 
responsibilities, he makes barren women fertile 
and shapes the fetus in the womb. He is considered 
to be the sculptor of mankind. He is depicted wear- 
ing white robes and symboUzes cleanliness. Offer- 
ings include coconuts and maize finaits. A jar of 
clean water is carried by a priestess to his sanctu- 
ary each morning and the water is drunk by women 
to make them fertile. Also Orishanla (archaic); 
Orisha-Popo; Orisha-Ogiyan; Orisha-Ijaye. 

Occator 

God of agriculture. Roman. Specifically respon- 
sible for overseeing growth and harvesting of 
crops. 

Ocelod 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The sun deity representing the first of 



the five world ages, each of which lasted for 2,028 
heavenly years, each heavenly year being fifty- 
two terrestrial years. Assigned to the earth and 
presided over by Tezcatlipoca. According to 
tradition, the age was populated by a race of 
giants and it ended in a catalclysmic destruction 
caused by huge and ferocious jaguars which 
devoured them. Illustrated by the Stone of the Four 
Suns [Yale Peabody Museum]. Also Oceloto- 
natiuh; Yoaltonatiuh; Tlalchitonatiuh. 

Ocelus 

God of healing. Romano-Celtic (British). He 
becomes largely syncretized with the Roman god 
AIars, thus there is an inscription to Mars Ocelus 
at Carlisle. 

Odin See Othin. 

Oduduwa 

Creator goddess. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
The consort, or alternatively the daughter, of 
the supreme god Olodumare. She is perceived 
as the substance, or matrix, of the earth which 
Olodumare impregnated to generate life. She is 
also a goddess of war and her sons include the 



230 



Okeanides 23 1 



great heroic Yoruba god Ogxjn. According to 
some traditions Oduduwa is also perceived as 
a god. 

Ogdoad 

Primordial forces. Egyptian. The elements of 
chaos, eight in number, which existed before 
the creation of the sun god and which are 
known from Khemnu in Middle Egypt (Greek 
Heliopolis). The Ogdoad also had a sanctuary 
at Medinet Habu. They created, out of them- 
selves rather than by sexual coupling, the 
mound which emerged from the primeval 
waters and upon which rested the egg from 
which the young sun god emerged. They are 
usually depicted as baboons heralding the sun as 
it rises. They are grouped in pairs and include 
Nun and Naunet representing the primordial 
abyss, Kek and Kauket representing darkness, 
Heh and Hauhet representing infinity, and 
Amun and AmauNET representing hidden 
power. 

Ogma See Ogmius. 
Ogmios See Ogmius. 
Ogmius 

God of poetry and speech. Celtic (Irish). Very Ht- 
tle is known of him, but the Roman writer 
Lucian mentions a Romano-Celtic god of 
wisdom, Ogmios, apparently assimilated with 
Hercules and described as an old man with 
lion's skin holding a crowd of people chained to 
his tongue by their ears. 

NOTE: a goddess Ogma is also mentioned; she 
may have been a mother goddess in the original 
Irish pantheon. 



Ogiuwu 

God of death. Edo [Benin, West Africa]. Believed 
to own the blood of all living things which he 
smears on the walls of his palace in the other- 
world. Until recent times human sacrifice was 
made regularly to this deity in the capital of the 
Edo region, Benin City. 

Ogun 

God of war, hunting and metalwork. Edo [Benin, 
West Africa]. This rather loosely defined deity 
was sent by the god OSANOBUA to cut open the 
land to allow crops to be planted. He is the 
strength inherent in metals and piles of metal 
objects are left beside his sanctuaries. As a god of 
war he defends the tribe and is depicted wearing 
armor and with red eyes. As a god of hunters and 
farmers he is generally benevolent. 

Ohoroxtotil (god almighty) 
Creator god. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The creator of the sun and the 
deity who made the world inhabitable for mankind 
by destroying the jaguars which once infested it. 

Oi 

Sickness god. Suk [western Kenya, East Africa]. A 
spirit of personal iUness rather than plague. The 
sick person's house is emptied and the priest exor- 
cizes Oi out of the dwelling. 

O-lwa-Dai-Myojin 

God of stoneworkers. Shinto and Buddhist 
[Japan]. Probably more a Buddhist deity, but also 
revered in Shintoism. 

Okeanides 

Sea deities. Greco-Roman. Minor goddesses 
assigned the guardianship of oceans by the great 



232 Okeanos 



gods and invoked by seafarers. In alternative 
tradition, they are river gods, the sons of 
Okeanos. 

Okeanos 

God of the oceans. Greek. A deity who remained 
at his post when most of the other gods were 
summoned to Olympus by Zeus. His consort is 
Tethys and he fathered children who included 
the Okeanides, mainly river gods, and a large 
number of daughters headed by Styx, and includ- 
ing Doris, Metis, and Tyche. 

Oki-Tsu-Hiko-No-Kami 

God of kitchens. Shinto [Japan]. One of the off- 
spring of O-Toshi-No-Kami, the god of harvests. 
The consort of Oki-Tsu-Hime-No-Kami and 
responsible for the caldron in which water is 
boiled. 

Oko (hoe) 

God of agriculture. Yoruba [Nigeria, West 
Africa]. According to tradition he descended 
from heaven and lived at a farm near the town 
of Irao, where he attained a great age. One 
day he disappeared, leaving only his staff 
which was taken as a symbol of his presence. 
Annually, at the start of the rainy season, a 
festival with strong fertility emphasis is held 
in his honor. 

O-Kuni-Nushi-No-Mikoto 

Creator god. Shinto [Japan]. The great organ- 
izer and consolidator of the earth in the 
creation mythology of Shintoism. He took up 
his duties after IZANAGI and IZANAMI had cre- 
ated the land. Tradition has it that he first 
underwent a series of ordeals and then reigned 



over the world. He has many consorts and innu- 
merable offspring. 

Ola Bibi 

Local plagiie goddess. Hindu. Worshiped in Ben- 
gal where she is associated with cholera. 



Olodumare 

Creator god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. He 
engendered the god Obatala as his deputy. The 
souls of the dead are expected to make confession 
to Olodumare. When he created the earth, he 
filled a snail's shell with dirt, placed inside it a 
hen and a pigeon and threw it down, whereupon 
the hen and pigeon began to scatter the earth and 
create land. Olodumare then sent a chameleon 
to report on progress. Sand was added, followed 
by a palm, a coconut and a kola nut tree. When 
these were estabUshed the god placed on earth the 
first sixteen humans. Also Alaaye; Elemii; Olojo 
Oni; Olorun; Orishanla. 

Olokun 

God of fresh waters and oceans. Fon and Yoruba 
[Benin and Nigeria, West Africa] . The eldest son 
of the creator god OSANOBUA. He is symbolized 
in the sacred river Olokun, which runs almost the 
length of Benin and from the source of which 
come the souls of unborn children. A girl baby is 
given a shrine of the god which includes a pot of 
river water and which she takes with her to her 
new home when she marries. The god is particu- 
larly popular among women and has a cult of 
priestesses. Olokun is also a guardian deity of 
mariners. 

Olorun See Olodumare. 



Onuris 233 



Omacad 

Minor god of feasting and revelry. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the TezCATLIPOCA complex. Also 
(2)Acatl. 

Ome Tochdi 

Fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico] . Slaughtered and then revived by Tez- 
CATLIPOCA. Head of the group classed as the Ome- 
tochdi complex of fertiUty deities who personified 
the maguey plant and the intoxicating drink 
brewed from it, pulque or ocdi. Also (2) Tbchth. 

O'meal 

Tribal spirit. Na'kwaxdax Indian [British Colum- 
bia, Canada]. The chief of the ancients who Uves 
in "Narrow Entrance at Open Plain" and whose 
siblings are the "myth people." 

OMETECUHTLI (two lord) 

ORIGIN Toltec-Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. Supreme deity. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750 to 

Spanish conquest circa AD 1500 but probably 

much earher. 
SYNONYMS OUn-Tonatiuh. 
center(s) of cult None. 
ART REFERENCES codex illustrations; stone 

carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES pre-Columbian codices. 

The supreme being of Aztec religion, the god 
represents dual aspects of all living things and of 
the fecundity of the natural world. One of the 
group classed as the Ometeotl complex. Prob- 
ably of Ibltec origin, "he" is perceived as androg- 
ynous. He has no sanctuaries, but is personified in 
the moment of birth, or in the conception of life. 



He is depicted in human form and is often accom- 
panied by the further depiction of a couple 
engaged in sexual intercourse. 

The household hearth is sacred to OmetecuhtU 
and he is closely linked with the fire god XlUHTE- 
CUHTLi. For alternative creation mythology see 
TEZCATLIPOCA. 

Ometeod {two god) 

Primordial being. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. According to some traditions, the dual 
principle personified in a bisexual force which the 
Aztecs believed to be the only reality, all else 
being illusory. Ometeod rules in the highest (thir- 
teenth) heaven, Omeyocan (place of duality) 
which rests above sun, moon, wind and other 
elements. Ometeotl impregnated itself to engen- 
der the four Tezcatlipocas (aspects of the sun). 
Another female aspect, Coatlicue, gave birth to 
the national Aztec god Huitzilopochtli. No 
formal cult existed for Ometeotl, but he was con- 
sidered to be present in every aspect of ritual. 
See also TONACATECUHTLI and TONACAOHUATL. 



Omichle 

Primordial principle. Phoenician (Hellenic). The 
element of darkness in chaos which fuses, or con- 
sorts, with Pothos to engender the spiritual and 
physical elements of the cosmos. 

Onuava 

Fertility goddess. Celtic (Galhc). Associated with 
the earth and known only from inscriptions. 

Onuris [Greek] 

God of hunting and war. Egyptian. Onuris is first 
known from This, near Abydos in Upper Egypt. 



234 Opo 



In later times his main cult center was at Saman- 
nud in the Nile delta. His consort is the Uon god- 
dess Mekhit. Onuris is generally depicted in 
human form as a bearded figure wearing a crown 
with four plumes and wielding a spear or occa- 
sionally holding a rope. He is sometimes accom- 
panied by Mekhit in iconography. Seen as a 
hunter who caught and slew the enemies of Re, 
the Egyptian sun god, some legends place him 
close to the battle between HORUS and Seth. In 
classical times, Onuris became largely syncretized 
with the Greek war god Ares. Also Anhuret 
(Egyptian). 

Opo 

God of the ocean. Akan [Ghana, West Africa]. 
One of the sons of the creator god Nyame, he is 
also considered to be the god of the great inland 
lakes and rivers of Ghana. 



Opochtli (left) 

Minor god of lake fishermen and hunters. Aztec 

(classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the 
group classed as the Tlaloc complex. 

Ops 

Goddess of harvests. Greco-Roman. Honored in 
an annual festival on August 25. She is also con- 
cerned with regulating the proper growth of 
seeds. A sanctuary is dedicated to her in the Regia 
in Rome. 



Oraios (wealth) 

Primordial deity. Gnostic Christian. One of the 
androgynous elements born to Yaldabaoth, the 
prime parent, and ruler of the seven heavens of 
chaos in Gnostic mythology. 



Orcus 

Chthonic underworld god. Roman. Modeled on 
the Greek god Hades. 

Ordog 

Chthonic malevolent god. Pre-Christian Hun- 
garian. After Christianization he became syn- 
cretized with the devil. 

Oreades 

Animistic spirits of the mountains. Greco - 
Roman. Female personalities assigned the 
guardianship of mountains by the great gods. 
Invoked by travelers to ensure their safety. 

Ori (mind) 

God of wisdom. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
The deity who, in heaven, guides the soul but 
who also acts as a personal guardian, controlUng 

individual mental ability, so that one person 
becomes wise and another foohsh. 

Orisanla 

Sky god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Afi-ica]. Delegated 
by Olodumare as a creator of earth and living 
things. 

Oro 

God of war. Polynesian [Tahiti]. One of the sons 

of Tangaroa. 

Orotalt 

Titelary god. Pre-Islamic Arabian. Thought to 
equate with the northern Arabian god RUDA 
(Ruldaiu). Mentioned by Herodotus in Hellenic 



OSIRIS 235 



times as a supreme god and possibly syncretized 
with DiONYSOS. 

Orthia 

Mother goddess. Sparta. Locally worshiped and 
probably soon syncretized with the more widely 
recognized maternal deities of Asia Minor such as 
Kybele. 

Orunmila 

God of destiny. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
He accompanied the creator god Olodumare at 
the creation of the world and when the destinies 
of mankind were decided, lie is consulted in an 
oracular capacity at Ifa and makes decisions on 
such matters as choice of sacrificial animals. He is 
also a god of healing and in many households 
enjoys personal shrines which include palm nuts, 
fragments of ivory and sea shells. 

Osande 

Guardian deity. Ovimbundu [central Angola, 
southwest Africa]. A benign elderly god who 
forms an integral part of ancestor worship. Con- 
sidered to be the founder of each family Hneage. 

Osanobua 

Creator god. Edo [Benin, West Africa]. The 
father of the god Olokun, he is regarded as a 
benevolent deity controlling prosperity, health 
and happiness. 

OSIRIS 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Chthonic god of the under- 
world, also a corn or vegetation god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC until 
the end of Egyptian history circa AD 400. 



SYNONYMS none, but many epithets are applied, 

reflecting the universality of his cult. 

CENTER(s) OF CULT many throughout Egypt but 
chiefly at Abydos (Ibdju) in Upper Egypt and 
Busiris (Djedu) in the Nile delta of Lower 
Egypt. Other important sanctuaries are located 
at Biga (Senmet) in Upper Egypt south of 
Aswan, and at the Karnak complex of Thebes. 
Outside Egypt there is a major sanctuary at 
Philae in Greece. 

ART REFERENCES innumerable sculptures, stone 
reUefs, wall paintings and papyrus illustrations. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts; coffin texts 
including the Book of the Dead, etc. 

Osiris is among the most significant and widely 
revered deities of the Egyptian pantheon. Accord- 
ing to the genealogy drawn up by the priests at 
HeUopolis, he was born at Rosetau in the necrop- 
olis (gate of the imderworld) of Memphis. His 
parents were Geb and NuT and he was the eldest 
of four siblings including his sister and consort 
IsiS, his adversary Seth and younger sister Neph- 
THYS. Isis bore the god HORUS having impreg- 
nated herself with the semen of Osiris after his 
death. Though Osiris is most closely linked with 
Isis, he is also associated with Anubis, the mor- 
tuary god of embalming and the scorpion-like 
mortuary goddess Serket. 

Osiris is depicted in human form but often 
tightly wrapped in mummy linen with only his 
arms free. He holds the crook and flail. His 
crown, the atef, is distinctive, consisting of the 
conical white crown of Lower Egypt framed by 
tall plumes and rams' horns. Often his skin is col- 
ored green. Osiris was perceived as the counter- 
part in death of the sun god Re. 

As a grain god, Osiris was worshiped in the 
form of a sack filled with seed which sprouted 
green. He is also depicted by models with articu- 
lated members which women paraded through 
the streets at festivals and manipulated to demon- 



236 Ostara 



strate the god's virility. His relationship widi die 
Egyptian kingship was crucial. Each king was die 
divine embodiment of Horus in life, but became 
Osiris on his death. 

The Osirian legend is knovm from pure Egypt- 
ian textual sources and from an embellished 
account of the Greek writer Plutarch. The latter 
describes how Osiris was persuaded by Seth to 
step into an exactly fitting sarcophagus during a 
drunken party. The coffin was nailed tight and 
thrown into the Nile. It was washed ashore at 
Byblos in the Lebanon where it became encased 
in the trunk of a growing tree. Eventually, the 
trunk was cut down and incorporated as a piUar in 
the palace of the local ruler. After years of search- 
ing, Isis found Osiris and brought his body home. 
She breathed life into it and impregnated herself 
with Osiris's semen. She bore his son Horus. 
Meanwhile Seth found the body and once more 
destroyed it by hacking it into fourteen pieces 
and scattering them along the Nile valley. With 
the exception of Osiris's penis, which Seth had 
thrown to a crocodile, Isis found all the pieces 
and buried them at the sites of various sanctuar- 
ies. She restored the penis with a replica which 
subsequendy became a focus of the Osirian cult. 
The scattering of the body was allegorized with 
the winnowing and scattering of grain in the 
fields. 

The purely Egyptian account omits the inci- 
dent of the sarcophagus and the discovery at Byb- 
los. Isis is sometimes represented in the form of a 
hawk being impregnated by the erect phallus of 
the dead god. The reference to the fate of the 
penis with a crocodile is also omitted. In the 
Egyptian version, the god's phallus was buried at 
Memphis. 

Ostara 

Sun goddess. Germanic. Associated with the 
coming of spring and one of the derivations of the 



term Easter, she equates with the Anglo-Saxon 
deity EOSTRE. 

Ostaraki (covering) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Osun 

River goddess. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
The daughter of Oba Jumu and Oba Do and the 
consort of the god Shango. The guardian deity 
of the river Osun, revered particularly in the 
tovms and villages along the banks of the river 
where sacred weapons are kept in her shrines. 
Also a goddess of healing. She is worshiped par- 
ticularly by women and is honored in an annual 
festival, the Ibo-Osun, during which new cultic 
priestesses are selected. 

OTHIN (allfather) 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic) and Germanic. Head 

of the Aesir sky gods and principal god of 

victory in battle. God of the dead. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period (circa 

AD 700) and earlier through to Christianization 

(circa AD 1 100) and beyond. 
SYNONYMS Odin; Sigtyr (god of victory); 

Val-father (father of the slain); One-eyed; 

Hanga-god (god of the hanged); Farma- 

god (god of cargoes); Hapta-god (god of 

prisoners). 
center(s) of cult Uppsala (Sweden). 
ART REFERENCES various stone carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose 

Edda (Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); votive 

inscriptions. 

Othin is the chief among the Viking Aesir sky 
gods, the lord of hosts and god of victory who 



OxlahunTiKu 237 



lives in the Hall of Valhalla in Asgard. He rules 
over an army of warrior spirits, the Valkyries. 
Othin peoples Valhalla with chosen heroes, slain 
in battle on earth, who will defend the realm of 
the gods against the Frost Giants on the final day 
of reckoning, Ragnarok, the doom of the gods. 
Othin passes out magic weapons to his selected 
earthly heroes including Sigmund the Volsung 
(see also Baal). In spite of his eminence Othin is 
considered to be untrustworthy, a breaker of 
promises. He rides a winged eight-legged horse, 
Sleipnir, and is able to change shape at will, an 
indication that he derives from an older, shaman- 
istic rehgion. 

His symbol is the raven and his weapon is a 
spear carved with runes or treaties said, when 
hurled by the god, to influence the course of com- 
bat. He is also symbolized by a knotted device, the 
valknut, probably representing his power to bind 
or unbind the minds of warriors and thus influ- 
ence the outcome of battle. Othin is perceived as 
a shaman, his constant desire the pursuit of occult 
knowledge through communication with the 
dead. He wanders the earth disguised as a traveler, 
and once pierced himself with his own spear and 
hung himself from the World Tree, Yggdrasill, to 
this end. He gave an eye to the god Mlmir as pay- 
ment for permission to drink from the well of 
knowledge which rises from a spring beneath the 
tree. 

Othin has links with the goddess Freyta in lit- 
erature. The goddess Skadi, wife of NjORD in 
some legends, was reputed also to have borne 
children to Othin, thus linking him with the 
Vanir gods. Adam of Bremen reports a special 
festival of the gods in Uppsala when men and ani- 
mals were slaughtered and hung in trees. Follow- 
ers of Othin were also burnt on funeral pyres. 
Othin is thought to have evolved as a syncretiza- 
tion of the Germanic war gods WODAN and 
TrWAZ. He was the patron god of a fanatical war- 
rior cult, the Berserks. 



As Wotan, the image of Othin was popular- 
ized by Richard Wagner in his epic operatic 
cycle "Der Ring des Nibelung." The god's myth- 
ical biography is, however, most extensively 
drawn by the 12th-century Icelandic poet and 
historian Snorri Sturluson. He refers to Othin 
as "a mighty one," but describes, in detail, how 
he was instrumental in the breaking of impor- 
tant oaths to the giants. It was this shortcoming 
that led eventually to the downfall of the Aesir 
pantheon. 

O-Toshi-No-Kami 

God of harvests. Shinto [Japan]. The son of 
SUSANO-Wo and Kamu-O-Ichi-Hime, he heads 
the pantheon of agricultural deities and is gener- 
ally the guardian of rice fields. 

Ouranos 

Primordial god of heaven. Greek. The creator and 
incestuous consort of the earth mother Gaia with 

whom he engendered six giant sons — Okeanos, 
Koeos, Kreos, Hyperion, Iapetos and 
Kronos — and six daughters — Klymene, Rhea, 
Thea, Thetis, Mnemosyne and Phoebe — the 
twelve collectively being known as the Titans. 
Fearing their power, Ouranos hurled them into 
the abyss of Tartaros and chained them up. 

Owiot 

Moon god. Luiseno Indian [California, USA]. 
The ancestral deity of the tribe. 

Oxlahun Ti Ku 

Sky gods. Mayan (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. The collective name for a group of thirteen 
celestial deities who are probably still invoked by 
Mesoamerican Indians today. 



238 Oya 



Oya 

River goddess. Yoraba [Nigeria, West Africa] . The 
consort of the god Shancx), she is the guardian 
deity of the river Niger. Also a goddess of storms 
and thunder. Her sacred animal is the buffalo and 
her presence is symboUzed by its horns. 



O-Yama-Tsu-Mi 

God of mountains. Shinto Japan]. The most sen- 
ior apotheosis of mountains in Japan, he is one of 
the sons of IZANAGI and IZANAMI and is worshiped 
extensively. 



p 



Pa-bil-sag 

Tutelary god of Isin. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian- Akkadian). The consort of the god- 
dess Nin'insinna. Identified with the city of Larak 
(lost), texts describe Pabilsag journeying to Nippur 
and presenting the god Enlil with gifts. He is given 
the epithet of "the wild bull with multicolored legs." 

Paca-Mama (eanh mother) 
Chthonic earth goddess. Inca (pre-Columbian 
South America) [highlands of Peru]. Worshiped 
extensively by farmers but now largely syn- 
cretized with the Christian Virgin Mary. 

Pachacamac (earth creator) 
Creator god. South American Indian [Lima 
region of Peru]. Near the town of Pachacamac is 
the site of a huge pyramidal sanctoary dedicated 
to the god. In origin he is pre-Inca but the Inca 
rulers who took over the region allowed his wor- 
ship to continue; eventually he became syn- 
cretized with the god VAlRACOCHA. 

Padma (lotus) 

1. Snake god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 
a group of seven Mahanagas. Attributes: rosary 
and water jar. Three-eyed. 



2. Goddess. An incarnation of Laksmi, the con- 
sort of an avatara of ViSNU. She is depicted as 

emanating from the padma or lotus (Nelumbium 
speciosinn) which is the symbol of creation and one 
of the most important iconographic devices in 
Hinduism. Also Kamala. 

Padmantaka (destructive to the lotus) 
God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the west- 
ern direction. Color: red. Attributes: jewel, red 
lotus, prayer wheel and sword. Three-headed. 

Padmapani (with lotus in hand) 
God. Buddhist. A bodhisattva or buddha- 
designate, and a distinct form of AVALOKITES- 
VARA. Color: white or red. Attributes: book, image 
of Amitabha on the crown, knot of hair, lotus, 
rosary, trident and waterjar. Three-eyed. 

Padmatara (lotus Tara) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). 

Padmosnisa 

God. Buddhist. Apparently connected with the 
guardian deities or dikpalas and associated with 
the western direction. Color: red. 



239 



240 Paean 



Paean See Paiawon. 

Pahteead (medicine lord) 

Minor fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 

can) [Mexico]. One of the group of deities known 
as tlie Ometoclitli complex and concerned with 
the brewing of the alcohoUc drink pulque from 
the maguey plant. 

Paiawon 

War god. Greek and Cretan. Known from Knos- 
sos and mentioned in the Iliad (Homer) as Paean. 

Painal (hasty) 

Alinor god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of the group of deities 
known as the Huitzilpochtli complex to 
whom sacrifice of captured prisoners was regu- 
larly offered. 

Pajainen 

God. Pre-Christian Finnish. The deity who kills 
the great bull in Finnish legend. 

Pajonn 

God of thunder. Pre-Christian Lappish. The 
name is derived from "the one who dwells in the 
heaven." 

PAKTAI 

ORIGIN Taoist (Chinese). Astral god of war. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP probably from 

Shang Dynasty (second millennium BC) until 

present. 

SYNONYMS Hsuan T'ien Shang Ti; Shang-ti yeh 
(Taiwanese). 



center(s) of cult Palace of Jade Vacuity on 

Cheung Chau Island. 
ART REFERENCES paintings and sculptures. 
literary SOURCES various philosophical and 

religious texts, mostly inadequately researched 

and untranslated. 

As first general of heaven's armies, he is regarded 
as a guardian of the Chinese state comparable to 
Kuan Ti, but older in mythology and identified 
with the north. According to tradition he lived 
circa 2000 BC and was deified during the war 
between the Chou and Shang dynasties. During his 
mortal lifetime he was allegedly responsible for the 
introduction of flood control and land drainage 
systems. Alternatively, he spent much of his life 
seeking a Buddhist-style perfection on the moun- 
tain of Wu T'ang Shan. He was taken to heaven to 
assist the established pantheon in defeating two 
traditional monsters, the tortoise and the snake. 
Pak Tai hurled them into a deep chasm and, on his 
return, was made first lord of heaven. 

He is also titled emperor of the north. His full 
tide, Hsuan T'ien Shang Ti, means superior ruler 
of the dark heaven, as distinct from the moving 
and more accessible heaven ruled by the god 
Huang Ti. Before his deification, the north of 
China was believed to be ruled by the tortoise, the 
so-called dark warrior. 

PakTai is also closely connected with death and 
fertility. He is a guardian of society who may 
descend from heaven to restore stabihty in times 
of unrest or destruction. On the island of Cheung 
Chau he is believed to have been responsible for 
ending a plague which afflicted the islanders at 
the end of the nineteenth century. 

Pakhet 

Goddess of hunting. Egyptian. Known locally 
from the eastern desert regions with a sanctuary 
at Beni Hasan. 



Pancanana 24 1 



Palaemon 

Minor sea god. Greco-Roman. Originally Melik- 
ertes, the son of Ino, Palaemon was deified by the 
gods when his mother hurled herself from a cliff 
with her son in her arms. According to versions of 
the legend she was either insane or escaping the 
wrath of Athanas, King of Thebes. 

Palaniyantavan 

Local god. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). Known only 
from southern India and considered to be a form 
of Skanda or of MURXJKAN, who is an old Tamil 
tribal snake god. 

Pales 

Pastoral goddess. Roman. A guardian of flocks 
and herds. Her festival was celebrated annually in 
Rome on April 2 1 . 

Pallas (Athene) 

Goddess. Greek. The fiiU name of the deity who 
is thus Pallas of Athens. The origin and meaning 
of the word Pallas is unknown. 
See also Athena. 



feet of a goat, is typically shown with phallic con- 
notations and is reputed to Uve in caves. Well- 
known as a pipe player, an interest stemming 
from an infatuation with the nymph Syrinx, 
whom the earth goddess Gaia changed into a 
clump of reeds to protect her fi-om Pan's amorous 
advances. The pipes of Pan are cut from hollow 
reeds and called the syrinx. The name Pan may 
also be applied in a pluralistic sense. Pan's repu- 
tation extended to sudden frightening of travelers, 
whence derives the term "panic." Pan is depicted 
wearing a garland of pine boughs and bearing the 
syrinx pipes and a shepherd's crook. 

Panao 

Creator god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. Local deity wor- 
shiped in Ashkun villages in southwestern Kafiris- 
tan. Also a generic title for deities controlling the 
natural world and said to live in the motmtains. 
These include Lutkari Panao (fertihty), Saramun 
Panao (health), Plossa Panao (rain and good 
health), Passamun Panao (rain and good health), 
hidermun Panao (fiiiit and wine), and Malek Panao 
(nut trees). These gods were generally worshiped in 
sacred open spaces where their wooden images 
were regularly drenched with blood sacrifices. 



PAN 

ORIGIN Greco-Roman. God of shepherds and 
personification of undiscipUned procreation in 
nature. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC and 

earlier until Christianization circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Consentes. 

CENTER(s) OF CULT Arcadia; Marathon (Attica). 
ART REFERENCES stone reliefs and carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Theogony (Hesiod), etc. 

According to tradition. Pan is the son of HERMES 
(Mercury) and a nymph, Penelope. One of the 
company of Satyrs, Pan possesses the horns and 



Pancabrahma 

Collective name for five aspects of SiVA. Hindu. 
The five aspects are Aghora, Isana, Sadyojata, 
Tatpurusa and Vamadeva. Also Isanadayas. 

Pancamukha-Patradeva 

God. Buddhist. A "bowl-god." Attributes: an alms 
bowl in each of sixteen hands. Five-headed. 

Pancanana 

Demonic deity. Hindu (Puranic). Regarded as a 
form of the god SiVA possessing five faces, each 



242 Pancaraksa 



face having three eyes. Depicted with the naked 
body of an ascetic, wearing a necklace of snakes. 
Shrines symbolize the god with a stone, its top 
painted red and usually placed beneath a tree. 
Pancanana is worshiped extensively in Hindu vil- 
lages throughout Bengal where women make 
invocations and anoint the stones, particularly 
when sickness strikes. There is a belief that chil- 
dren in the throes of epilepsy have been seized by 
the god. 

Pancaraksa (five-fold protection) 

Group of goddesses. Buddhist. Five tutelary or 

guardian deities who personify protective spells or 

magic formulae. They are thus known as "spell 

goddesses." 

Pandara 

Goddess. Buddhist. The Sakti of Aaiitabha and 
a female BODmSATTVA or buddha-designate. She 
originates from the Tantric syllable PAM. Color: 
rose. Attributes: blue lotus, cup, knife and prayer 
wheel. 

Paneu 

A collective term for seven gods. Kafir [Afghan- 
istan]. The divine brothers are cast as the hunters 
and henchmen of the supreme goddess DiSANl. 
Each is equipped with a golden bow and quiver. 
They are generally portrayed as merciless and 
maUgnant forces. Also Paradik, Purron. 

Pansahi Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu. A Sakti and one of 
seven Saptamataras (mothers) who in later Hin- 
duism became regarded as of evil intent, inflicting 
sickness on children under the age of seven. Par- 
ticularly known from Bengal. 



Pao Kung 

God of magistrates. Chinese. Lived as a mortal 
from AD 999-1062 during the Sung Dynasty. 
Depicted with a dark face, implying impartiality, 
and wearing yellow and purple robes. Attributes 
include a wooden scepter. He is attended by two 
minor deities, one holding his seal of office and 
the other holding the rod of punishment. 

Papas 

Local god. Phrygian [northwestern Turkey]. 
According to tradition, he inseminated a rock and 
so engendered the hermaphrodite being Agdistis. 
Later became syncretized with Zeus. 

Papatuaniiku 

Chthonic mother goddess. Polynesian (including 
Maori). According to tradition she evolved 
spontaneously in the cosmic night personified by 
Te Po and became the apotheosis of papa, the 
earth. In other traditions she was engendered, 
with the sky god RangINUI, by a primordial 
androgynous being, Atea. Paptuanuku and Rang- 
inui are regarded as the primal parents of the pan- 
theon who, through a prolonged period of 
intercourse, produced at least ten major deities as 
their children. In Maori culmre Papatuanuku, like 
all deities, is represented only by inconspicuous, 
slightly worked stones or pieces of wood and not 
by the large totems, which are depictions of 
ancestors. 

Pap-nigin-gara (lord of the boundary stone) 
God of war. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Syncretized with NiNURTA. 

Papsukkal 

Messenger god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Identified in late Akkadian texts and 



Pama-Savari 243 



known chiefly from Hellenistic Babylonian times. 
His consort is Amasagnul and he acts as both 
messenger and gatekeeper for the rest of the pan- 
theon. A sanctuary, the E-akkil, is identified from 
the Mesopotamian site of Mkis. He becomes syn- 
cretized with NiNSUBUR. 

Paramasva (great horse) 
God. Buddhist (Mahayana). Considered to be a 
form of Hayagrtva depicted with four legs and 
trampling the four major Hindu deities under- 
foot. Color: red. Attributes: arrow, bow, head of 
a horse, great lotus, lotus, staff and sword. Three- 
eyed. 

Paramita 

Descriptive name of a philosophical deity. 
Buddhist. Applied to one of the group of 
twelve whose spiritual father is RatnasAiMBHAVA. 
Common attributes: banner with a pearl, and 
a lotus. 

Parasurama (Rama-with-the-ax) 

Incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The sixth avatara of Visnu (see also 
Rama) in which form he saved the world from an 
army of tjn-annical warriors. According to legend, 
Rama, the son of a wise man, became a skilled 
bowman and in gratitude he went to the 
Himalaya where he stayed, devoting himself to 
Siva. His consort is Dharani. Though without 
his bow, Rama acted as a champion of the gods in 
a war against the demons and was rewarded with 
an ax. In another legend, Visnu took the form of 
Parasurama to rid the world of despotic rulers. 
This avatara appears in human form, with 
two arms and with an ax in the right hand. Other 
attributes: arrow, bow, knife, skin and sword. Also 
Parasuramavatara. 



Parcae 

Goddesses of fate. Greco-Roman. Originally a 
pair of birth goddesses, Decima and Nona, later 
joined by a goddess of death, MORTA. 

Parendi 

Minor goddess of prosperity. Hindu (Vedic). 
Associated with the acquisition of wealth. 

Pariacaca 

Weather god. Pre-Inca central Andean [South 
America]. The deity responsible for rain and 
thunder, personified by the falcon. 

Pariskaravasita (control of purification) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spiritual 
regeneration. Color: yellow. Attribute: jeweled 
staff. 

Parjanya (rain giver) 

God of rain. Hindu (Vedic). Became replaced 
by, or syncretized with, Indra in later Hin- 
duism, but in the Vedas he is seen as a god of 
gentle, fructifying rain. May be regarded as an 
Aditya. 

Pama-Savari (dressed in leaves) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 

Aksobhya and bodhisattva or buddha-Aesignzte. 
Also one of a group of Dharanis (deifications of 
Uterature). She is particularly recognized in the 
northwest of India. Her vehicle is Ganesa 
surmounting obstacles. Color: yellow or green. 
Attributes: arrow, ax, bow, flower, noose, peacock 
feather, skin and staff. She is depicted as having 
three eyes and three heads. 



244 Parsva 



Parsva 

Jain. The 23rd tirthankava and therefore the 
penultimate in the line of mythical salvation 
teachers. Possibly a historic person who lived in 
the 8th century BC, he was succeeded by Maha- 
viva or Vardhamana, who was definitely a person 
in history. Parsva has been credited as the myth- 
ical founder of Jainism. 

Partula 

Minor goddess of birth. Roman. Concerned with 
parturition. 

PARVATI {daughter of the mountain) 
ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. 
Mother goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400 UntU 

present times. 
SYNONYMS Sakti; Ahladini-Sadini; Sati; Uma. 

Many epithets including Amba (mother); Aja 

(she goat); Gauri (corn goddess aspect); 

Bhutamata (mother of goblins). 
center(s) of cult none specific. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures, chiefly in bronze 

but also in stone; reUefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana epic and various 

Puranic texts. 

Parvati may have originated from the mountain 
tribes in the Himalaya. As a goddess of fertihty she 
is the youngest of the benign aspects of the goddess 
Sakti. She also appears as a reincarnation of Sati. 
She is the daughter of Hbviavan (the Himalaya) 
and Mena, a sister of ViSNU and the younger sis- 
ter of Ganga. She becomes the consort of the god 
Siva and, as such, personifies the extreme example 
of the devoted and steadfast Hindu wife. Her sons 
include Ganesa and Skanda. 

She is presented to Siva, the ascetic, as a beau- 
tiful dancing girl. On becoming aware of his lack 



of interest, she pursues a Hfe of self-denial until he 
finally appears to her as an old Brahman and takes 
her as his consort. 

Parvati is depicted with two arms when accom- 
panying Siva, but four when standing alone; she 
may be elephantheaded or carrpng Ganesa as a 
baby, and appears in many varieties. Attributes: 
conch, crown, mirror, ornamented head-band, 
rosary and occasionally a lotus. 

Pasupati (lord of animals) 
God of animals. Hindu [India]. His consort is 
Svaha and his son is Sanmukha. He is thought to 
have been derived from an earUer pre-Indo Aryan 
deity worshiped by the Indus Valley civiHzation as 
a horned god with three faces, sitting surrounded 
by animals. In Hindu culture regarded as an 
aspect of SrVA and depicted standing upon a 
corpse. 

Patadharini (bearing a cloth) 

Goddess of passage. Buddhist. She watches over 

curtains and doorways. Color: blue. Attribute: a 

curtain. 

Pattinidevi (queen of goddesses) 
Mother goddess. Hindu (Singhalese) [Sri Lanka]. 
A deification of Kannaki, the consort of Kovolan 
who, according to ancient Tamil tradition, jour- 
neyed to the town of Madurai to sell a gold anklet. 
Through trickery she was convicted of theft and 
executed, but was canonized. According to 
another tradition, she was born from a mango 
pierced by a sacred arrow. In southern India and 
Sri Lanka a goddess of chastity and fidelity in 
marriage. Also a guardian against diseases, includ- 
ing measles and smallpox. She is associated with 
fire-walking rituals. Attributes: cobra-hood 
behind the head, and a lotus. 



Penates 245 



Pavana (purifier) 

God of the winds. Hindu. His consort is Anjana. 
Also Vayu. 

Pax 

Spirit of peace. Roman. Became well-known as 
Pax Romana and Pax Augusta from the second 
century BC and was accorded a shrine on 
the Field of Mars. Depicted as a young woman 
bearing a cornucopia, an olive branch and a 
sheaf of corn. 

Peitho 

Goddess of persuasion. Greek. A minor atten- 
dant of the goddess APHRODITE. 

Peju'lpe 

Guardian spirits. Yukaghir [southeastern Siberia]. 
Attendant deities who look after the well-being of 
animals in their care. They are benevolent toward 

the hunter so long as he observes certain regula- 
tions and kills only when necessary. 

Pekko 

God of cereal crops. Pre-Christian Finnish and 
Baltic regions. In Finland he is Pellon Pekko 
and specifically a god of barley used in brewing 
beer. In Estonia he is a corn god whose image, 
made of wax, was kept in the corn chest. He was 
originally honored on a day taken over by a 
Christian festival for St. Peter. 

Pele 

Volcano goddess. Polynesian [Hawaii] . Accord- 
ing to tradition she arrived in Hawaii in a canoe, 
having sailed from Tahiti. She may derive 
locally from the more familiar Polynesian moon 



goddess, HiNA, since one of her alternative 
names is Hina-Ai-Malama (Hina who devours 
the moon). 

Pellon Pekko 

Vegetation god. Pre-Christian Finnish. The deity 
responsible for the germination and harvesting 
of barley used to make beer. The first brewing is 
dedicated to Pellon Pekko. He may have largely 
become syncretized with St. Peter under Christ- 
ian influence. 
See also Pekko. 

Pemba (great thing) 

Creator god. Bambara and Mande [Mali, West 
Africa]. He was created out of the empty or Fu 
and his first task was to form the egg of the 
world. He descended to earth as an acacia seed 
{Acacia albida) which first grew to a mighty tree 
and then died. From the wood Pemba generated 
human souls and a female being whom he 
impregnated to engender all human and animal 
life. His brother is the god Faro, creator of the 
river Niger. 

Pen Annwen 

Underworld god. Celtic (Welsh). Virtually syn- 
onymous with PWYLL and Pryderi. 

Penates 

Hearth deities. Roman. These gods are a pecu- 
harly Roman innovation, unknown to the Greeks. 
The penates, chosen individually by the head of 
the household, oversaw the domestic affairs of 
most Roman families. They were considered suf- 
ficiently important that, if a move was anticipated, 
they were taken to and estabUshed in the new res- 
idence a priori. They are represented in the form 



246 Perende 



of small statues made of anything from clay to 
gold according to the wealth of the owner, and 
were provided with regular offerings of scraps of 
food. 

Perende 

Storm god. Pre-Christian Albanian. In the 
ancient Illyrian culture his presence was 
announced by thunder and lightning. The name 
subsequently became adopted to identify God in 
the Christian sense. 

Perkons 

God of thunder. Pre-Christian Latvian. Depicted 
armed with iron weapons, he is also a fertility god 
who brings beneficial rain. Also Perkunas 
(Lithuanian). 

Perkunas See Perkons. 
Perse 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Greek. The con- 
sort of the sun god Helios and the mother of 
Kirke and Pasiphae, she personifies the under- 
world aspects of the moon. Also Neaira. 

PERSEPHONE 

ORIGIN Greek. Chthonic goddess of death. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1200 BC to 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS KORE; Persephassa; Pherrephatta 

(Attic); Proserpina (Roman). 
center(s) of cult Eleusis; temple to Demeter 

and Persephone in Syracuse. 
ART references sculptures and reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Hymn to Demeter, Iliad 

(Homer); Theogony (Hesiod). 



The daughter of Zeus and the corn goddess 
Demeter, Persephone's persoita is intricately 
entwined with that of her mother; the two may 
be seen as aspects of each other, though Perse- 
phone's name suggests an earlier, independent 
identit}^ as a major goddess in prehistory. Perse- 
phone is perceived as Kore, the immature daugh- 
ter, or aspect, of the corn mother, but also 
specifically as mistress of the dead and ill-fated 
consort of the underworld god Hades -Aidoneus 
or Aides. 

According to tradition Persephone leaves her 
mother's house to pick flowers with a group of 
girls, the Okeanides. As she bends to collect a 
particularly beautiful bloom, the earth suddenly 
opens and the god of the underworld rides out in 
a chariot drawn by black horses to seize her and 
abduct her to Hades, where she is to reign as his 
queen. The flower meadow is traditionally 
believed to lie on the island of Sicily close to the 
Lago di Pergus at Enna, though other sites, 
including one near Syracuse, contest the claim. 
Subsequently, Demeter wanders the earth in 
fruitless search for her child. Eventually she 
locates Persephone and Hermes is allowed to 
bring her back to the upper world but, because 
Persephone has tasted the pomegranate of death, 
she may return only for two thirds of each year. 
When Persephone returns to her mother as Kore, 
the girl, nature flourishes, but when she descends 
to Hades as his queen, Demeter is distraught and 
angry and the living world shrivels and dies. 

According to one legendary source, Zeus in the 
form of a snake raped Persephone and sired 
DiONYSOS, though Dionysos's mother is more 
generally regarded as Semele. 

Perun (striker) 

God of thunder. Pre-Christian Slavonic (Balkan). 
His attribute is a club and his sacred animal is the 
bull. He is known to have been worshiped at Kiev. 



Pidray 247 



Peruwa 

Horse god. Hittite. Known only from inscrip- 
tions. Also Pirwa. 

Phanebal (face of Baal) 
Minor attendant god. Western Semitic. A youthful 
warrior deity with right hand raised who appears on 
coins struck at Ascalon from the time of Augustus. 

Phanes 

Primordial sun god. Greek. The first god to emerge 
from the cosmic egg engendered by Kronos, he 
personifies light emerging from chaos. According 
to one tradition, his daughter is Nyx, the night. 

Phorkys 

Minor sea god. Greek. According to Hesiod, he is 
the son of PONTOS and Gaia. The consort of a 
sea-serpent, Keto, and the father of the Gorgons 
and Graii. Also Phorkos. 

Phosphoros 

Cjod of the morning star. Greek. His mother is 
Eos, the dawn, and he is depicted as a naked 
youth running ahead of her, carrpng a torch. In 
Roman culture he becomes Lucifer. 

Phul Mata 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who in later Hinduism became one of the 
Saptaaiataras regarded as of evil intent, inflict- 
ing sickness on children under seven years old. 
Particularly known from Bengal. 

Phyi-Sgrub (the external one) 

God. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. A form of the 

god Yama who rides a buffalo or a bull. Color: 



blue, yellow or white. Attributes: noose, prayer 
wheel and staff surmounted by a skeleton. 

Picullus 

Chthonic underworld god. Romano-Celtic 
(Prussian). He becomes syncretized with the devil 
in Christian times. 

Picvu'cin 

God of hunters. Chukchee [Eastern Siberia]. A 
diminutive figure who rides on a sled drawn by 
mice. He is the guardian of reindeer and other 
animals and is invoked by sacrifice, usually of 
camp dogs. 

Pidari (snake-catcher) 

One of the consorts of SrvA. Hindu (Puranic and 
later). A benevolent Navasaicti. The cult of 
Pidari probably evolved in the sixth and seventh 
centuries AD and is generally restricted to south- 
ern India. She is considered an aspect of the god- 
dess Kali and is invoked in many villages to 
ward off evil and demons. She has most of the 
attributes of Kali and may also have snakes 
around her breasts, but may additionally be 
represented by a stone. Her cult moved at one 
time and reached a climax in eastern India 
between the eighth and twelfth centuries. 
Attributes: cup, fire, noose and trident. Also 
Pitah; Kala-Pidari. 

Pidray 

Minor fertility goddess. Canaanite and Phoeni- 
cian. Mentioned in epic creation texts and treaties 
at Ugarit (Ras Samra) as the first daughter of 
Baal. She is the consort of Baal Sapon, the 
mother of Tly and may be the goddess Peraia 
described by the Greek writer Philo. 



248 Pietas 



Pietas 

Minor god. Roman. A sanctuary dedicated to him 
circa 191 BC is still in existence in Rome. He 
became Pietas Augusta and is associated with fam- 
ily solidarity and patriotism. 

Pilumnus (staker) 

Minor guardian god. Roman. Concerned with 
the protection of an infant at birth. A ceremony 
to honor the deity involved driving a stake into 
the ground. 

Pinikirz 

Mother goddess. Elamite [Iran]. Known only 
from inscriptions. 

PISTIS (faith) 

OKIGEV Gnostic Christian. Primordial female force. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP probably circa 200 

BC to circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Pistis Sophia. 

center(s) OF CULT undefined cells in areas of 

early Christian influence. 
ART references none. 
LITERARY SOURCES Nag Hammadi codices. 

The exact origin of Pistis is never made clear and 
the Nag Hammadi narratives are in places con- 
fused and contradictory. It is, however, an unmis- 
takably female principle typical of most religions 
in their concept of the origin of the world. Pistis 
appears to be a benign female element among the 
primordial immortals who ruled before even the 
cosmos was created. She is closely allied with 
Sophia (wisdom). Pistis appears to have been 
formed out of infinity before the "shadow" which 
was to evolve into chaos, and from which the cos- 
mos would take shape, defined itself within lim- 
itless light 
See also SoPHiA and Yaldabaoth. 



Pitao Cozobi 

Maize god. Zapotec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Worshiped by the Monte Alban cul- 
ture of Zapotec-speaking peoples in the Valley of 
Oaxaca. Sculptures were often adorned with casts 
of maize ears. 

Piyusaharana 

Obscure physician god. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). Identified in the texts as the eighteenth 
of the thirty-nine minor incarnations of the god 
ViSNU; said to be a "carrier of nectar." 

Pluto 

God of the underworld. Roman. Derived from 
the Greek model of Hades, he abducted the 
daughter of Ceres, Proserpina, to reign as his 
queen. The three-headed dog Cerberus was 
set to guard the gate of Hades and through 
the kingdom flowed the two rivers of death, the 
Cocytus and the Acheron which could be crossed 
only by the ferryman Charon. According to 
Roman tradition, the entrance to the underworld 
was at Avernus in Rome where the Christian 
church of St. Maria del Inferno was built. 
See also HADES. 

Plutos 

Minor god of riches. Greek. A son of Demeter 
who was abandoned in childhood and reared by 
the goddess of peace, Eirene, who is sometimes 
depicted holding him in her lap. Plutos was 
blinded by Zeus because of his discrimination in 
favor of the righteous. 

Poeninus 

Mountain god. Romano-Celtic (Continental Euro- 
pean). Known locally from the alpine regions and 
generally thought to be assimilated with Jupiter. 



POSEroON 249 



Poleraimna 

Plague goddess. Telegu [India]. Associated with 
smallpox and offered blood sacrifices. 

Pollux 

Horse god. Roman. 
See also POLYDEUKES. 

Poliiknalai 

Goddess of animals. Kafir [Afghanistan] . Locally 
revered, with the goddess Disani, among Askun 
villages in the southwest of Kafiristan. 

Polydeukes 

Horse god. Greek. One of the Dioskouroi twins; 
the other is Kastor. According to tradition, they 
are together associated with a Spartan cult 
whence they originated. The pair probably derive 
from the Indo-European model of the AsviNS in 
Vedic mythology. Kastor is mortal while Poly- 
deukes is immortal. Thus, during battle, Kastor is 
mortally wounded but, even in death, the two 
brothers remain inseparable. They rescue indi- 
viduals from distress and danger, particularly at 
sea, and are thought to be embodied in the elec- 
trical discharges known as St. Elmo's Fire. Also 
Castor and Pollux (Roman). 

Pomona 

Goddess of orchards and gardens. Roman. Con- 
sort of Vertumnus generally represented by gar- 
den implements and offered fruits and flowers. 

PON (something) 

ORIGIN Yukaghir [central Siberia]. Supreme cre- 
ator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from prehistoric 
times until circa AD 1900. 



SYNONYMS Pon-yu'lec (something got dark); 

Pon-o'moc (something has become good); 

Pon-ti'boi (something makes rain); Cu'kun. 
center(s) of cult no fixed sanctuaries. 
ART REFERENCES none known. 
literary SOURCES Jochelson Memoirs of the 

American Natural History Society Vol. 10 (1905). 

Pon is a vague and indefinite creator spirit who con- 
trols all visible phenomena of nature. As far as can 
be ascertained, no specific cult was ever addressed to 
this deity, he seems to be a remote figure, largely out 
of touch with everyday life. No invocations or 
prayers are addressed to Pon, nor are sacrifices. 

Pontos 

C5od of the sea. Greek. His mother and consort is 
Gaia and he is the father of the sea gods Nereus 
and Phorkys. 



Pore 

Creator god. Guyanan Indian [South America]. 
Engendered the earth and all living things. Also 
Pura. 

Portunus 

God of passage. Roman. The deity responsible 

for guarding the entrance of the city and the 
house ahke. He was celebrated in the Fortunalia 
festival, held aimually on August 17, when keys 
were thrown into a fire to bless them. He is also 
the guardian of the Tiber estuary, the main access 
by sea to the city of Rome. 

POSEIDON 

ORIGIN Greek. God of the sea and mariners. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from circa 1600 BC 
through Minoan Crete (art evidence only) until 



250 Posis Das 



circa AD 400. synonyms Poseidaon (Myce- 
naean); Poteidan (Dorian). 

center(s) of cult Cape Sunium [southern 
Greece]; Pylos [Crete]; Mount Mykale 
[Turkey]; early sanctuary on the island of 
Kalauria; otherwise widespread through areas 
of Greco-Roman influence, particularly at 
Berytus [Syria]. 

AST REFERENCES sculpture, plaques, coins, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Iliad (Homer); Theogony 
(Hesiod), etc. 

Poseidon is perceived as a sea god, one of the 
three sons of Kronos and Rhea. His brothers are 
Zeus and Hades. He is the father of Theseus 
who became king of Athens, and is also linked 
with the ancestral king of the city, Erechtheus, 
whom he supposedly rammed into the ground. 
Among his other sons are Neleus, king of Pylos, 
and Pelias of lolkos in Thessaly. He is also, by tra- 
dition, the father of the ancestors of the Aeohan 
and Boeotian races. 

The horse is sacred to him and he is said to 
have inseminated the ground from which was 
conceived the first horse. Poseidon's chief consort 
is Amphitrite, but other consorts emphasize the 
affinity with horses. They include the infamous 
Gorgon, Medusa, from whose dead body came 
the winged horse Pegasus and the warrior 
Chrysaor. A Uaison with the goddess Erinys pro- 
duced another fabulous winged horse, Areon. In 
a parallel legend Areon's mother is Demeter 
while in the guise of a mare. 

Poseidon appears never to have been envisaged 
in youthful form, but always as an elderly, bearded 
deity who carries the emblem of a trident harpoon. 
According to tradition, Zeus took the sky, Posei- 
don the sea, and Hades the underworld, while the 
earth was shared between all three. Poseidon was 
a popular oracular deity, suggested in one legend to 
be the first keeper of Delphi. Another oracle at 
Cape Tainaron is dedicated to Poseidon. 



There exist ruins of a striking Poseidon sanc- 
tuary, constructed of white marble, on the cliffs of 
Cape Sunium at the extreme southern tip of 
Greece, past which all ships sail when making for 
Athens. Regattas were held there in honor of the 
god and he was particularly invoked during the 
tuna-hunting season which was conducted using 
traditional trident harpoons. 

On Argos horses were sacrificed to Poseidon, 
drowned in a whirlpool, while on Pylos and else- 
where he received the offering of slaughtered 
bulls. 

Posis Das 

Sky god. Greek. In pre-Hellenic times the con- 
sort of the earth mother Gaia. One of the pri- 
mordial partnership identified in Theogony 
(Hesiod). He later becomes syncretized with 
Zeus. 

Pothos 

Primordial being. Phoenician (Hellenic). Accord- 
ing to the cosmogony, he is desire, and consorts 
with Omichle, darkness, to engender out of 
chaos the spiritual force Aer, and its living physi- 
cal manifestation Aura. 

Potina 

Alinor goddess. Roman. Associated with the safe 
drinking ability of infants. 

Poxlom 

God of disease. Mayan (Tzeltal Indian, classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Apparently perceived 
as a star in the sky or a ball of fire. He may also be 
depicted as a fertility god shelling maize or as a 
fisherman, doctor, musician or hunter. An image 
of the god was discovered in the Christian church 



Prajnavardhani 25 1 



in Oxchuc, and the Indians were forced to revoke 
and spit on the icon before it was publicly burnt. 

Prabhakari Qight-maker) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of sev- 
eral deified Bhumis recognized as different spir- 
itual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: red. Attributes: sun disc on a great lotus 
and staff. 

Prabhasa (shining dawn) 
Attendant god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 
a group of Vasu deities answering to the god 
Indra. Attributes: cup, hook, Sakti and staff. 

Pracanda (furious) 

Distinct form of the goddess DURGA. Hindu 
(Epic and Puranic). One of a group of Navadur- 
GAS or "nine durgas." 

Pradhana (most important) 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 

of a group of nine NxWASAKTis who, in southern 
India, rank higher than the Saptamataras. 

Pradipatara 

Minor goddess of Hght. Buddhist (Mahayana). 
Pradyumna 

God of love. Early Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India]. The son of Krsna and RUKMINI, and the 
elder brother of Sama. Equating with 
Kamadeva, or Kama returned to life after being 
killed by SiVA. In later Hinduism regarded as an 
avatara of ViSnu with consorts including 
Mayadevi and Kakudmati. 



Prajapati (lord of creatures) 
Primordial being. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and 
Puranic). In the Vedic legends he is described var- 
iously as the creator of the world and the creator 
of heaven and earth. He is an androgynous being 
who impregnated himself by Rising elements of 
mind and speech. In later epics he is the guardian 
deity of the sexual organ. Prajapati is also a name 
of the god Brahma in later Hinduism. 

Prajna (wisdom) 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Regarded as the 
Sakti of a number of Mahayana gods, or specifi- 
cally of Adibuddha. 

Prajnantaka 

God. Buddhist. One of the dikpalas, guardians of 
the southern direction. Color: white. Attributes: 
jewel, lotus, sword, trident and white staff. 

Prajnaparamita 

Goddess. Buddhist. The personification of the reU- 

gious text Prajnaparamita and the Sakti of Vajrad- 
HARA. An emanation of the deity Aksobhya. Also 
a philosophical deity, the spiritual offspring of Rat- 
NASAMBHAVA. The embodiment of transcendental 
intuition. She stands upon a lotus. Color: white, 
reddish white or yellow. Attributes: blue lotus, 
book, cup, knife, jeweled staff and red lotus. 

Prajnapti (teaching) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [India]. One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Prajnavardhani (groavth of wisdom) 
Deification of literature. Buddhist. One of a 
group of Dharanis. Color: white. Attributes: 
staff and sword on blue lotus. 



252 Prakde 



Prakde (parade) 

Local deity. Kafir [Afghanistan]. Known from 
Ashkun villages in southwestern Kafiristan and 
perhaps one of the seven divine Panao or Paradik 
brothers. 



Pramudita (delighted) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One 

of several deified Bhumis recognized as 
different spiritual spheres through which a 
disciple passes. Color: red. Attributes: jewel and 
staff. 



Pranasakti 

Goddess. Hindu. A terrifying deity ruling the 
"centers of physical life." She stands upon a lotus. 
Attribute: a cup filled with blood. 

Pranidhanaparamita 

Philosophical deity. Buddhist. Spiritual offspring 
of Ratnasambhava. Color: blue. Attributes: jewel 
and sword on blue lotus. 



Pranidhanavasita (control of abstract 

contemplation) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spiritual 
regeneration. Color: yellow. Attributes: blue lotus 
and jeweled staff. 

Prasannatara (the gracious Tara) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Regarded 
as a form of Ratnasambhava who tramples on 
Hindu gods including INDRA, BRAHMA, RUDRA 
and Upendra. Color: yellow. Carries a large vari- 
ety of attributes. Three-eyed. 



Prasuti 

Goddess. Hindu. The daughter of Svayambhuva 
Manu and one of the consorts of Daksa. 

Pratibhanakuta {excellent intelligence) 
God. Buddhist. A bodhisattva or huddha- 
designate. Color: yellow or red. Attribute: sword 
on lotus. 

Pratibhanapratisamvit 

Gk)ddess of context analysis. Buddhist (Vajrayana). 
One of a group of four. Color: green. Attributes: 
three-pronged staff and bell. 

Pratisamvit (analytical science) 

Generic name for four goddesses. Buddhist 

(Vajrayana). The personifications of logical analysis. 

Pratyangira (whose speech is directed westward) 
Goddess of terrifying aspect. Hindu. She rides 
upon a lion. Attributes: cup, drum, flaming hair, 
snake noose and trident. 

Pratyusa (scorching) 

Attendant god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 
a group of Vasu deities answering to the god 
Indra. Attributes: hook, knife, Sakti and sword. 

Prende 

Goddess of love. Pre-Christian Albanian. The 
consort of the thunder god Perendi who became 
absorbed into Christianity as a saint. 

Priapos 

Fertility god. Greco-Roman and Phrygian. The 
son of DiONYSOS and APHRODITE, he was also a 



Proserpina 253 



guardian of mariners. Priapos was not regarded 
as a significant deity in Greece until very late 
times — during the Macedonian period, circa 
fourth to second century BC — and was only 
locally popular during the Roman Empire 
period. He is particularly known from Phrygia 
and is depicted as a satyr-like creature with 
pronounced genitals. 

Priapus 

God of the shade. Roman. A rural deity whose 
worship appears to have been restricted to the 
shores of the Hellespont and clearly derives from 
the god Priapos. 

Prithivi See Prthivi. 

Priti (pleasure) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A daughter 
of Daksa and consort of the god of love 

Kaaiadeva. One of twelve S.^KTis associated with 
the god ViSNU in his various incarnations. 

Priyadarsana (pleasant to the eye) 
Alinor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

PROMETHEUS (forethought) 

ORIGIN Greek. Heroic god and creator of man. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 800 BC and 

probably earlier until Christianization circa 

AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF CULT predominantly Athens. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures, relief carvings, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Theogony (Hesiod); 
Aeschylus drama. 



Prometheus, one of four sons of the Titan 
Iapetos and his consort Klymene, is probably 
best known as a heroic opponent of Zeus. He 
stole fire from the latter and gave it to mankind 
as the boon which separates the human race 
from all other living creatures. Legend accords 
to Prometheus, and his brother EpiMETHius 
(afterthought), the creation of mankind and the 
role of its protector, in response to which Zeus 
created Pandora and her box of problems, set 
loose to afflict the human race. Zeus also 
imprisoned Prometheus by fastening him to a 
great rock in the Caucasus mountains with 
adamantine chains and sending an eagle to con- 
sume his liver. He was rescued by Herakles, 
who killed the eagle and liberated the god from 
his torment. 

Promitor 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Responsible 
for the growth and harvesting of crops. 

Pronoia (forethought) 

Primordial being. Gnostic Christian. The 
feminine aspect of one of the androgynous 

principles born to Yaldabaoth, the prime par- 
ent, and ruling the seven heavens of chaos in 
Gnostic cosmogony. Also described in other 
Gnostic tracts as Protennoia, the voice of the 
thought, and alternatively the voice of LOGOS 
(logic), who descends to earth in human 
form and plays a part in the primordial salvation 
of the world. 

Proserpina 

Goddess of death. Roman but derived from 
a Greek model. Abducted by the underworld 
god Pluto to reign as his queen (see PERSE- 
PHONE). 



254 Proteus 



Proteus 

Minor sea god. Greek. Depicted as an old man 
who attends Triton and whose principal concern 
is the creatures of the oceans. He also has oracu- 
lar powers. The poet Cowper wrote: 

"In ages past old Proteus, with his droves 
Of sea calves sought the mountains and the 
groves." 

Also known as Glaukos, Nereus and 
Phorkys. 

Providentia 

Goddess of forethought. Roman. Recognized 
from the reign of Tiberias in second century BC. 

Proxumae 

Generic title of a group of goddesses. Romano- 
Celtic. Personal guardian deities. 

Prsni 

Primordial earth goddess. Hindu (Vedic). The so- 
called "dappled cow" of the Rg Veda. She is also 
perceived as the brightly colored soma stalk and is 
linked with a male counterpart, also Prsni, the 
dappled bull of the sun. 

PRTHIVI (earth mother) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Vedic) [India]. Mother god- 
dess of earth. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1500 BC and 
probably earher through to present day. 

SYNONYMS Bhudevi. 

center(s) OF CULT none specific. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures in bronze and other 
metals; stone reliefs, etc. 

LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda and other texts 
including the Atharva-veda. 

In Vedic literature Prthivi is the female aspect of 
the creator god Dyaus PiTAR. The two formed 



the once inseparable primordial cosmos until sep- 
arated by the god Varuna. According to one 
illogical legend of Prthivi 's genealogy, she was the 
daughter of Prithu who had granted the blessing 
of hfe on earth and who, in her turn, had emerged 
from the arm of the corpse of King Vena. 

Prthivi is a chthonic or earth goddess with 
whom the sky god Dyaus couples when he fertil- 
izes her with rain. She is said to kiss the center of 
the world and she symbolizes the eternal patience 
and resihence of the earth, permitting herself to 
be abused without rancor. She is also a vegetation 
goddess, the source of all plant life. In some leg- 
ends Prthivi is perceived as the consort of the rain 
god Indra, who protects her, and of lesser-known 
creation deities including Parjanya, Prajapait and 
Visvakarma. ViSNU strides over her body. As the 
inseparable partner of Dyaus she is rarely 
addressed alone, though in the Atharva-veda 
Dyaus is not mentioned. Usually the pair are 
referred to as Dyavaprthivi. Though the goddess 
was present in early Indian culture, she persists 
into late Hinduism and may be associated with 
Visnu as one of the personifications of his Sakti. 

Many Hindus worship Prthivi at dawn and 
before ploughing and sowing. In the Punjab, the 
first milk from a cow is offered to the goddess by 
allowing it to soak into the earth. With similar 
sentiment a dying man may be laid on the earth 
to be received by Prthivi. 

Prthu (broad) 

Creator god. Hindu (Vedic). The head of the 
solar pantheon who introduced agriculture to the 
human race and who, in later Hinduism, is iden- 
tified as an avatar a of ViSNU. 

Pryderi 

Chthonic god. Celtic (Welsh). The son of PWYLL 
and Rhiannon. According to tradition, he was 



Pu'gu 255 



abducted as an infant from his cradle by a huge 
talon or claw, with the implication that the 
abduction was instigated by an adversary from 
the underworld, perhaps the family of Gwawl, a 
rejected suitor of Rhiannon. Pryderi was found 
in a stable and rescued by Teirnyon, who 
brought the child up as his son. Eventually the 
true parents of Pryderi were identified and he 
was returned to his family. His consort is Cigfa 
and he succeeded Pwyll to the title 'Lord of 
Dyfed.' 

PTAH 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Creator god and god of 
craftsmen. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC, pos- 
sibly earlier, until the end of Egyptian history 
circa AD 400. synonyms Ptah-Nun; Ptah- 
Natmet; Khery-bakef. 

center(s) OF CULT chiefly at Memphis, but with 
sanctuaries throughout the Nile valley. 

ART REFERENCES sculptures, relief carvings, wall 
paintings, papyrus illustrations. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts, etc.; the 
Shahaka Stone. 

Ptah is the patron deity of Memphis in Lower 
Egypt at the southerly approach to the Nile 
delta. With AruM, the sun god of HeliopoUs, 
he is the main rival claimant to seniority as a 
creator god in the Egyptian pantheon. His con- 
sort is the lion-goddess Sakhmet and, by impli- 
cation only, his son is Nefertum, the god of the 
primeval lotus flower. Ptah is depicted in human 
form wearing a closely fitting robe with only his 
arms free. His most distinctive features are the 
invariable skull-cap exposing only his face and 
ears, and the was or rod of dominion which he 
holds, consisting of a staff surmounted by the 
ankh symbol of life. He is otherwise symbolized 
by his sacred animal, the bull. 



According to the genealogy laid down by the 
Memphis priests, Ptah upstaged Atum as the 
"father of the gods." He generated not only 
Atum but the whole Heliopolis pantheon (see 
Ennead) by thinking and speaking the cosmos 
into existence. All life and matter was gener- 
ated by the heart and the tongue of Ptah. In 
this cosmogony, NUN represents the amorphous 
primeval matter out of which Ptah generated 
himself as a bisexual entity, the maleness of 
which is Ptah-Nun and the femaleness Ptah- 
Naunet. Ptah is occasionally known by the title 
Khery-bakef, meaning "he who is under his 
tree," suggesting that he was syncretized with a 
older local tree god at Memphis whose symbol 
is the moringa tree. 

In addition to his role as creator god, Ptah is 
also the patron deity of craftsmen and his pres- 
ence is often denoted in art by dwarfish crafts- 
men who work at various trades including 
jewelry. Ptah is envisaged as molding mankind 
out of base materials. In Greco-Roman times he 
became identified with the Greek god of 
smithies, Hephaistos. 

PuMa 

Generic name for deities. Polynesian. The title 
given to any god of high rank. 

Pudicita 

Goddess of chastity. Roman. Depicted as a 

matronly lady, her cult fell from popularity as 
the Roman Empire veered increasingly toward 
decadence. 

Pu'gu 

Sun god. Yukaghir [eastern Siberia]. A spirit 
associated with justice and honorable living who 
punishes those who are evil or violent. 



256 Pukkasi 



Pukkasi 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist 
(Vajrayana) and Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a 
group of gauri. Color: yellowish white or blue. 
Attribute: waterjar. 

Punarvasu 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). Concerned 
with restoring lost or stolen property. 

Punitavati (purified) 

Local goddess. Hindu. Worshiped at Karaikkal 
near Ammaiyar. The deification of a Brahman 
businessman's wife. 

Puranai (fullness) 

Mother goddess. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern 
India]. A Navasakti and one of the consorts of 
Aiyanar. 

Purandhi 

Minor goddess of prosperity. Hindu (Vedic). Asso- 
ciated with the acquisition of wealth and some- 
times identified with Indra or other male deities. 

Purusa 

Primeval creator god. Hindu (Vedic). Described 
as the primordial being from whom the cosmos 
was formed, possibly the male component of the 
great mother, Mata. In later Hinduism regarded 
as an avatar a of ViSNU. 

Purvabhadrapada 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 

Puranic). A benevolent naksatra; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 



Purvaphalguni 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A moderately disposed naksatra; 
daughter of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Purvasadha 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 

Puranic). A moderately disposed NAKSATRA; 
daughter of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Pusan (nourisher) 

Sun god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). The origi- 
nal Vedic Ust of six descendants of the goddess 
Aditi or Adityas, all of whom take the role of sun 
gods, was, in later times, enlarged to twelve, 
including Pusan. He is the charioteer of the sun 
and a guardian deity of journeys and pathways. 
Color: golden. Attributes: four lotuses. 

Pusi 

Eish god. Polynesian [Tikopia]. The apotheosis of 
the reef eel who probably accompanied the Tbn- 
gan ancestors who migrated to Tikopia. 

Puspa (flower) 

Mother goddess. Buddhist- Lamaist [Tibet]. One 
of the group of AsTAMATARAS (mothers). Color: 
white. Attribute: a flower. 

Puspatara (flower-Tara) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Color: 

white. Attribute: a forest garland. 

Pusti (growth) 

Eertility goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). In 
northern India she is the second consort of 

ViSNU, but elsewhere may also be linked with 
Sarasvati and named as a consort of Ganesa. 



Pwyll 257 



Pusya 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent naksatra; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Puta 

Goddess of agriculture. Roman. Specifically 
responsible for the proper pruning of trees and 
shrubs. 



Pwyll 

Chthonic god. Celtic (Welsh). The so-called 
"Lord of Dyfed" who, according to tradition, 
brought the pig to Wales having received it as a 
gift from Arawn, the underworld god. He earned 
the reward by substituting for Arawn and fighting 
his enemy Hafgan, in payment for an unintended 
slight to Arawn, whom he met one day while out 
hunting. His consort is Rhiannon and his son is 
Pryderi. 



Q 



Qaitakalnin 

Guardian spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
The brother of Big Raven, Quikinna'qu, and of 
the mother spirit Ha'na (A'na). 

Qamai'ts 

Creator goddess. Bella Coola Indian [British 
Columbia, Canada]. Said to live in the upper heaven, 
Atsa'axl, from where she controls the earth. Accord- 
ing to tradition the mountains were once malevolent 
beings who made the world uninhabitable, until she 
conquered them and reduced them in size. She is 
never invoked or prayed to. Also Tsi Sisnaaxil (our 
woman); Ek YakimtolsU (afraid of nothing). 

Qa'wadiliquala 

Supreme god. Dza'wadeenox Indian [British 
Columbia, Canada]. The guardian of the tribe but 
also a river deity responsible for bringing the 
salmon each year. Said to live in the river Gwae. His 
eldest son is Tewi'xilak, the god of goat hunters. 
His attributes include a headband of red cedar bark. 

Qaynan 

God of smithies. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. 
Known from inscriptions. 



Qeskina'qu (big light) 
Sky spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. One of 
the sons of Quikinna'qu, he is the apotheosis of 
daylight, a precious commodity during the long 
winter months. 

Qos 

Local weather god. Pre-Islamic northern Ara- 
bian. Apparently known as the deification of an 

outcrop of black basalt on the north side of the 
Wadi Hesa [near Kirbet Tannur]. Also a god of 
rainbows. Depicted seated on a throne flanked 
by bulls. Attributes include a branched thunder- 
bolt held in the left hand. A worshiper is seen 
offering him an eagle. 

Quades (the holy one) 

Fertility goddess. Western Semitic, probably 
originating in Syria. She epitomizes female sex- 
uality and eroticism in the mold of ASTARTE. She 
was adopted by Egypt with the fertility gods 
MiN and Resep and became partly associated 
with the goddess Hathor. She is usually 
depicted nude standing on the back of a lion (see 
also Inana and NiNHURSAGA) between Min to 
whom she offers a lotus blossom, and Resep for 
whom she bears snakes. Her cult followed the 



258 



QuiahuitI 259 



typically ancient Near Eastern pattern of a 
sacred marriage carried out by her votary priest- 
esses and their priests or kings. 

Quat 

Creator god. Polynesian [Banks Islands]. As with 
many Polynesian deities, the god is depicted as 
being very inactive, sitting around all day doing 
nothing. 

Qudsu 

Personification of holiness. Western Semitic. 
Known from inscriptions at Tyre where a human 
figure stands naked on a lion, wearing a spiral 
headdress and holding lotus blossoms and ser- 
pents. 

QUETZALCOATL (the feathered serpent) 
ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoaxnerican) [Mexico]. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750 to 

AD 1500 and probably much earlier. 
SYNONYMS nine-wind; White Tezcatlipoca; 

Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. 
center(s) of cult Teotihuacan, Cholula, 

Xochicaico, Malinaico and others. 
art references stone sculptures, murals, 

codex illustrations. 
literary sources pre-Columbian codices. 

One of the four suns which are manifestations of 
the sun god Tezcatlipoca. He presided over the 
second of the five world ages represented by the 
sun Ehecatl. The heroic creator god of the 
Aztecs, he is also identified as the god of the wind. 
According to one of many traditions he fashioned 
mankind from his own blood and provided food 
by turning himself into an ant so as to steal a grain 
of maize which the ants had hidden inside a 
mountain. A titanic struggle between Quetzal- 



coatl and the black Tezcatlipoca resulted in the 
creation and destruction of four worlds or suns 
prior to the current sun. Conversely, Quetzal- 
coatl and Tezcatlipoca together bore the respon- 
sibiUty for restoring the shattered universe and 
initiating the fifth sun, Ollin. They are said to 
have passed through the body of the earth mon- 
ster Tlaltecuhtli and spUt it in two to form 
heaven and earth. 

Later QuetzalcoatI descended to the under- 
world Mictlan to obtain from its rulers the bones 
and ashes of generations of mankind to create the 
humanity of the fifth sun. He is said to have 
dropped the bones and broken them, thus 
accounting for the differing statures of men. 

First depicted as a feathered serpent, he was 
known to the Nahua Indians as QuetzalcoatI who 
also revered him for his gift of science and arts. 
Worshiped at Teotihuacan from circa AD 750 or 
earlier. Temples of QuetzalcoatI include a six- 
tiered step-pyramid at Teotihuacan, and the huge 
manmade pyramid of Cholula on the Puebla 
plain, the largest ancient structure in the New 
World. The bearded Spanish conquistador 
Cortez was beheved by the emperor Motecuh- 
zoma to be QuetzalcoatI. 

Represented iconographically as a composite 
feathered hybrid, his aspect or avatara Tlahuiz- 
calpantecuhth was perceived as the Morning Star. 

NOTE: Tbpiltzin QuetzalcoatI was also a his- 
torical figure born circa AD 935. 

QuiahuitI 

Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. The sun deity representing the third of 
the five world ages each of which lasted for 2,028 
heavenly years, each heavenly year being fifty- 
two terrestrial years. Assigned to the element fire 
and presided over by the rain god TlaloC. 
According to tradition, the age ended in a cata- 
clysmic destruction caused by a great fiery rain. 



260 QUIKINNA'QU 



The hiiman population perished and in doing so 
were transformed into dogs, turkeys and butter- 
flies. Illustrated by the "Stone of the Four Suns" 
[Yale Peabody Museum]. Also Quiauhtonatiuh; 
Tletonatiuh. 

QUnONNA'QU (big raven) 

ORIGIN Koryak [Kamchatka peninsula, south- 
eastern Siberia]. Fotmder of the world. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from early 
times until circa AD 1900. 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult no fixed sanctuaries. 

ART references none specific, though wooden 

carvings may relate. 
LITERARY SOURCES Jochelson Memoirs of the 

American Natural History Society Vol. 10 

(1905). 

A spirit of a primitive culture still heavily influ- 
enced by animism. Quikinn.a'qu is not only a 
deity but also the first man and a powerful 

shaman. Everything had existed before, but he 
was responsible for reveahng that which hitherto 
had been concealed. He is married to Mm and 
said to have twelve children, the most significant 
of whom are Eme'mqut and Yina-a-naut (see also 
Aesir) who are in constant conflict with the evil 
spirits or Kalau. 

Quikinn.a'qu is the subject of many heroic 
adventures in which he undertakes to make safe 
the activities of mankind. He possesses a raven 
cloak vnth which he can indulge in shape-chang- 
ing and fly to the heavens. Acts as a celestial 
majordomo and an intercessor with the creator 
god. According to legend, he died when he 



swallowed the sun. His daughter took it from 
his mouth and returned it to the sky. 

Litde of this deity was known to the outside 
world until the turn of the 20th century. In 1900 
the Swedish-American ethnologist Waldemar 
Jochelson spent a considerable time living 
with Siberian tribes, including the Kovyak in 
the Kamchatka Peninsula, and discovered an 
extensive repertoire of tradition surrounding 
Quikinn.a'qu. 

Quinoa-Mama 

Minor goddess of the quinoa crop. Pre- 
Columbian Indian [Peru]. Models of the deity 
were made from the leaves of the plant and kept 
for a year before being burned in a ritual to ensure 
a good quinine harvest. 

Quirinus 

God of war. Roman. One of a triad of warrior 
gods including Jupiter and Mars. He originated 

as the tutelary god of the Sabines, living on the 
Quirinal, one of the seven hills of Rome. His war- 
rior status is primarily one of defense and he is 
depicted bearded and in a compromise of military 
and clerical clothing. The myrde is sacred to him. 

Quzah (archer) 

Mountain and weather god. Pre-Islamic northern 
Arabian. Probably equating to Qos and wor- 
shiped by the Idumaean tribe to the south of 
Judea as a storm god. Also claimed to have been 
known near Mecca. Attributes include a bow 
which shoots arrows of hail. 



R 



RADHA (prosperity) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. God- 
dess of emotional love. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1000 BC and 
earlier imtil present day. 

SYNONYMS Bhumidevi [soudiern India]. 

center(s) of cult none. 

ART REFERENCES virtually none. 

LITERARY SOLTRCES later Puranic literature — the 
works of Vidyapati (1352-1448), including the 
Brahrm-vaivarta-purana. 

Radha is a goddess whose role is limited to that of 

a favored mistress of Krsna. She only emerges 
fully as a goddess from the twelfth century AD 
onward and she is one of the central figures in the 
poetry of Vidyapati, who places her as a cosmic 
queen. One of the creation accounts describes 
how Krsna divides himself into two parts, one of 
which is Radha. They make love for an age and 
their sweat and heavy breathing become the 
world's oceans and winds. Radha gives birth to the 
golden egg of the universe, which floats on the 
primal waters for a year until the god ViSNU 
emerges. 

Other mythology accounts that Radha enjoys 
an illicit relationship with an adolescent 
Krsna. Their tryst is set in the village of Vraja 
and in the surrounding forests at a time before 



Krsna takes as his consort Rukmini and later 
Satyabhama. 

Radha is sometimes considered to be an 
avatara of Laksmi and thus a consort of Krsna, 
and in southern India, as Bhumidevi, she 
becomes associated with Sarasvati. She always 
stands as the personification of emotional love in 
stark contrast to Sati, the faithful and legitimate 
consort of Visnu's other avatara, Rama. In the 
bhakti cult she symbolizes the yearning of the 
human soul to be drawn to Krsna. Attribute: a 
lotus. 

Rahu (seizer) 

Primordial cosmic deity. Hindu. The son of 
Kasyapa or RuDRA, according to legend he seizes 
the sun and moon to generate eclipses. 

Rahu is depicted with four hands and a tail, 
or as a head alone, his body having been 
destroyed by ViSNU. He stands upon a lion or in 
a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Color: 
dark blue. Attributes: half moon, knife, sword 
and trident. 

Raijin 

Weather god(s). Shinto [Japan]. A generic 
tide for a large group of deities controlling thun- 



261 



262 Rajamatangi 

der, storms and rain. Among the most 
significant is Rytjjdst, the dragon god of thunder 
and rain. 

Rajamatangi 

Goddess. Hindu. She stands upon a lotus. Attrib- 
utes: blue lotus, lute, moon and parrot. 

Raka (1) 

Minor goddess of prosperity. Hindu (Vedic). 
Associated with the acquisition of wealth. 

Raka (trouble) (2) 

God of winds. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. The 
fifth child of Vari-Ma-Te-Takere, the primor- 
dial mother. 

His home is Moana-Irakau (deep ocean). He 
received as a gift from his mother a great basket 
containing the winds, which became his children, 
each allotted a hole in the edge of the horizon 
through which to blow. The mother goddess also 
gave him knowledge of many useful things which 
he passes on to mankind. 

Rakib-El 

Moon god. Western Semitic (Syrian). Known 
chiefly from inscriptions circa eighth century BC. 

Rakta-Yamari (red Yamari) 

God. Buddhist. An emanation of Aksobhya and 

a variety of Yamari. Color: red. 

Raktalokesvara 

God. Buddhist. A variety of the BODHISATTVA 
AVALOKITESVARA. he is generally depicted sitting 
beneath an asoka tree with red blossoms and 



is popularly known as the "Red Lord." His 
attributes include a hook, bow, red lotus flower, 
arrow and noose. 

Raluvimbha 

Creator god. Baventa [northern Transvaal, 
South Africa]. The tribal chief converses with 
the god, who is responsible for all natural phe- 
nomena from thunderstorms to floods and 
plagues. 

Rama (pleasing) 

Incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The seventh avatara (sun aspect) of 
Visnu. Rama began as a comparatively minor 
incarnation who became one of the great heroes of 
the Ramayana epic, as well as featuring in the 
Mahabharata. The son of Dasaratha and Kausalya, 
he was a king of Ayodhya who, in the Ramayana, 
slew the demon Ravana that had captured his 
consort SiTA and was upheld as a deity par excel- 
lence in respect of manhood and honor, though his 
subsequent treatment of his wife might be 
regarded as cavalier (see Sita). 

The Ramayana epic was composed by the poet 
and sage Valmeeki during the reign of 
Ramachandra and it gave form to a story that 
had been in existence for many centuries as an 
oral tradition. Valmeeki portrayed Rama not as 
an incarnate deity but as a great mortal hero. 
The saga is strongly political and serves to unite 
a vast and fragmented people in a common 
focus, irrespective of caste and language. It 
defines the historical schism between the Hindu 
culture of India and the largely Buddhist tradi- 
tion of Sri Lanka. 

Rama rides in a chariot and is depicted in 
human form with two arms, typically holding a 
sugar cane bow and with a quiver at his shoulder. 
Also Ramacandra. 



RATNASAMBHAVA 263 



Ran 

Storm goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). The consort 
of the god Aegir. She was presumed to gather 
mariners in her net having carried them to the 
bottom of the sea in whirlpools. She was propiti- 
ated with money and other offerings thrown 
overboard. 

Rang 

God of hunting. Nuer [Sudan]. The rays of the 
sun are his flaming spears. Also Garang. 

Ranginui 

Sky god. Polynesian (including Maori). The so- 
called sky father of the Polynesian culture whose 
consort is Papatuanuku, the earth mother. 

During a prolonged period of inseparable inter- 
course they became the prime parents of the 
Polynesian pantheon of gods. The children found 
life between the bodies of the parents too 
cramped and conspired to force them apart. 
Though one offspring, TuiWATAUENGA, wanted 
to slay them, the advice of Tanemahuta, the for- 
est god, prevailed and Ranginui and Papatu- 
anuku were merely forced apart. 

Rasnu 

God of passage and justice. Persian [Iran]. The 
guardian of the bridge which leads to the other- 
world. He weighs souls in the scales at the final 
judgment. 

Rati 

Goddess of sexual desire. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A daughter of Daksa (in some texts 
Siva) and the consort of the god Kamadeva. One 
of twelve Saktis associated vnth the god ViSNU in 
his various incarnations. Attribute: a sword. 



Ratnapani (with a jewel in the hand) 
God. Buddhist. A form of Ratnasambhava and 
also a dhyanibodhisattva or meditation buddha. 
Color: yellow or green. Attributes: a jewel and 
the moon disc. 

Ratnaparamita 

Philosophical deity. Buddhist. Spiritoal offspring 
of Ratnasambhava. Color: red. Attributes: jew- 
eled staff and moon on a lotus. 



RATNASAMBHAVA ^om of a jewel) 
ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. The third DHYANIBUD- 

DHA or meditation BUDDHA. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC until 

present. 
SYNONYMS Ratnaheruka. 
center(s) OF CULT pan-Asiatic. 
ART REFERENCES metal and stone sculptures; 

paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamala and Tantric rit- 
ual texts. 

One of five mystic spiritual counterparts of a 
human biiddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. A prod- 
uct of the Adibuddha who represents the 
branch of the cosmos concerned with sensation. 
He originates from the yellow mantra symbol 
TRAM and lives in the southern paradise. The 
head of a group of deities who carry jewels and 
are family symbols, his Sakti is Mamaki and he 
is normally accompanied by two lions or horses. 
Color: yellow. Attributes: jewel and three 
monkish robes. 

Ratnasambhava is also taken as a tutelary deity 
in Lamaism [Tibet] in which case his attri- 
butes include a bell and a jewel. Emanations 
include Aparajita, Jambhala, Mahapratisara, the 
Paramttas, Prasannatara, Ratnapani, Vajratara, 
Vajrayogini and Vasudhara. {See also Aksobhya, 



264 Ratnolka 



Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi and Vairocana.) 
Color: yellow. Attributes: bell and jewel. 

Ratnolka ^ewel meteor) 
Goddess of light and deification of literature. 
Buddhist. One of a group of Dharanis. Color: 
yellow. Attribute: jeweled staff. 

Rataiosnisa 

God. Buddhist. An USNISA deity apparently linked 

with the guardian sky deities or dikpalas in the 
southern direction. Color: blue. 

Ratri 

Groddess of the night. Hindu (Vedic). Ratri is the 
personification of darkness bedecked with stars. 
Her sister is USAS, the dawn goddess, who, with 
Agni the fire god, chases her away. She is per- 
ceived as the guardian of eternal law and order in 
the cosmos and of the waves of time. 

Ratri is generally regarded as a benign deity 
who offers rest and renewed vigor, and who may 
be invoked to ensure safety through the hours of 
darkness. She deposits the gift of morning dew. 
However she also offers a bleaker aspect as one 
who brings gloom and barrenness. 

Raudna (rowan tree) 

Goddess. Pre-Christian Lappish. The consort of 
the thunder god HORAGALLES. 

Raudri 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of a group of nine Navasaktis who, in southern 
India, rank higher than the Saptamataras. She 
may also equate with the terrifying aspect of 
Parvati as DuRGA or Kali. 



Raiini 

Storm goddess. Finno-Ugrian. Consort of the 
thunder god Ukko and responsible for rainbows 
after storms. 

Rbhus (skilful) 

Sun gods. Hindu (Vedic). Identified in the Rg 
Veda as the craftsmen of the gods and linked with 
the Maruts. They are led by INDRA. 

RE 

ORIGIN Egyptian. Creator god and sun god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC 

until the end of Egyptian history, circa AD 

400. 

SYNONYMS Ra (Roman and Greek); Re-Atum; 
Re-Khepri; Amun-Re. 

center(s) of cult HeliopoUs and elsewhere 
through the Nile valley. 

ART REFERENCES sculpture. Stone reliefs, carv- 
ings, wall paintings, papyrus illustrations. 

LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts, coffin texts, 
etc; the Westcar Papyrus. 

Re is one of several manifestations of the sun 
god and creator god of Egypt, emphasizing a 
fragmented tribal past in the pre-Dynastic 
period. According to legend he created himself 
out of the mound that emerged from the 
primeval ocean. In other depictions he arose as 
a child from the primeval lotus blossom. He is 
generally depicted in the form of a falcon wear- 
ing the sun disc on its head, surrounded by the 
serpentine form of the cobra-goddess Wadjet. 
Re is also perceived as god of the underworld. 
He is known in some inscriptions as "Re in 
Osiris, Osiris in Re," in which case he often 
rides in his barque as a human figure with a ram's 
head surmounted by a sun disc and accompa- 
nied by the cobra goddess. The notion of the 



Revanta 265 



"Eye of Re" is a very complex one, suggesting 
several things including, in essence, his power 
and perfection. 

The cult of Re took on major importance at 
Heliopolis from the middle of the third millen- 
nium when the V Dynasty rulers entitled them- 
selves as the sons of Re. Closely linked with the 
underworld god Osiris, the notion took shape 
that the combined deity was Re by day as the sun 
climbed above the eastern horizon and became 
Osiris, lord of the western horizon, at the onset of 
night. 

Re was regarded with a considerable amount of 
fear. The cobra element suggests his ability to 
deliver instant nemesis. By contrast, he is said to 
have created mankind from his tears. Several 
minor deities were also, by repute, generated out 
of drops of blood falling from Re's penis which he 
self-mutilated (see SlA). 

Redarator 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Associated 

with second ploughing and invoked by sacrifice, 
generally with Tellus and Ceres. 

Renenutet 

Snake goddess. Egyptian. Also possessing fertil- 
ity connotations, she guarded the pharaoh in the 
form of a cobra. There is some evidence that 
she enjoyed a cult in the Faiyum, the highly fer- 
tile region of the Nile valley. She is depicted 
either in human form or as a hooded cobra, in 
which case she bears close association with the 
goddess Wadjet who is embodied in the uraeus. 
Her gaze has the power to conquer enemies. In 
her capacity as a fertility goddess she suckles 
infant rulers and provides good crops and har- 
vests, linked in this capacity to OsiRIS and the 
more ancient grain god Neper. She is also a 
magical power residing in the linen robe of the 



pharaoh and in the linen bandages with which he 
is swathed in death. 

At Edfu Renenutet takes the title "lady of the 
robes." In the Greco-Roman period, she became 
adopted by the Greeks as the goddess Her- 
mouthis and was syncretized with IsiS. 

Reret See Taweret. 

Resep (A)Mukal 

War and plague god. Western Semitic (Canaan- 
ite and Phoenician), originating in Syria. Intro- 
duced into Egypt by the XVIII Dynasty during 
the sixteenth century BC and rapidly achieved 
some prominence. His wife is Itum and he 
was also known as Resep-Amukal and Resep- 
Sulman. 

Resep is probably modeled on the Meso- 
potamian Nergal. He is depicted as a youthful, 
warlike god, often with a gazelle's head springing 
fi-om his forehead, and with a spear in his right 
hand. In Egyptian iconography he is depicted 
wearing the crown of Upper Egypt surmounted 
in front by the head of a gazelle. He has Unks 
with the Theban war god MoNTU and was 
thought of as a guardian deity in battle by many 
Egyptian pharaohs; he is said to have shot fire- 
brands with a bow and arrow. He also exerted a 
benign influence against disease. The influence of 
Resep extended to Cyprus during the pre- 
Hellenic period and at the time of Hellenization 
he was allied to and perhaps syncretized with 
Apollo. Also Rasap, Resef 

Revanta (with wealth) 

God of hunters. Hindu. The son of SURYA and 
Sanjna. Known mainly fi-om eastern India and 
Gujarat, he protects mankind against the dangers 
of the forest. Infrequendy depicted in art. 



266 Revati 



Revati 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Rhadamanthos 

Minor chthonic underworld god. Greco-Roman. 
One of three judges attending the goddess of 
justice Themis evaluating the souls of the dead 
entering Hades. 

Rhea 

Primordial goddess. Greek. The daughter of 
OURANOS and Gaia, she is the consort of 
Kronos and mother of Zeus and other gods of 
Olympus, known only from the Theogony 
(Hesiod) and Iliad (Homer). She is also recog- 
nized in Roman Uterature under the same name. 
Also Rheie. 

Rheie See Rhea. 

Rhiannon 

Chthonic horse goddess. Celtic (Irish). The 
daughter of Hefaidd Hen and consort of Pwyll, 
she rides upon a white mare and is associated 
with the underworld and with fertility. May be 
virtually synonymous with the Romano-Celtic 
goddess Rigantona whose name means "great 
queen." Authors suggest she is modeled on the 
goddess MODRON and she partly equates with 
Epona. 

Riddhi (prosperity) 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of the 
consorts of Ganesa, but otherwise very close in 
appearance to Laksmi. She carries Laksmi's 
attributes when standing alone. 



Riddhivasita (control of prosperity) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spiritual 
regeneration. Color: green. Attribute: moon disc. 

Rigisamus 

God of war. Romano-Celtic (GalUc). Assimilated 
with Mars. 

Rind 

Chthonic goddess. Northern Germanic and 
Nordic (Icelandic). She is mentioned as a consort 
of Othin and mother of Vali. Also Rinda; Rindr. 

Ritona 

Goddess of river fords. Romano-Celtic. Known 
from inscriptions and associated with the Treveri 
tribe. 

Rohini (red) 

1. Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). She is the 
mother of BUDHA. 

2. Goddess of learning. Jain. One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Roma 

Tutelary goddess. Greek and Roman. The deity 
was actually conceived by the Greeks and shrines 
were set up at centers including Smyrna and 
Ephesus. 

Rongomai 

Whale god. Polynesian and Maori. He is the 
son of Tangaroa, the creator deity responsible 

for the oceans and the fish, and the father of 
Kahukura, the deity responsible for the appear- 



Rudra 267 



ance of the rainbow. He is also regarded as the 
ancestor of several Maori clans. 

Various traditions are associated with Rongo- 
mai. In some regions of New Zealand he is also 
regarded as a god of war and is thought to have 
discovered the magic arts during a visit to the 
underworld, including the power of kaiwhatu, a 
preventative charm against witchcraft. Rongomai 
is sometimes mistakenly identified with RONGO- 
MATANE, or Rongo, though the latter is generally 
considered a distinct personality. As the god 
responsible for the well-being of whales Rongo- 
mai may take the form of a whale, a guise in which 
he once challenged AIaru, a more widely recog- 
nized New Zealand war god. Separate mythology 
places him in the heavens in the form of a comet. 

Rongomatane 

God of agriculture. Polynesian (including Maori). 
He is the father of cultivated food and the special 
gardener of the kumara or sweet potato which is 
a vital crop in Polynesia. In New Zealand the first 
sweet potatoes are offered to Rongomatane. In 
the traditions of the Hervey Islands, Rongo is one 
of the five sons of the moon god, Vatea, and the 
mother goddess. Papa. 

Rosmerta (great provider) 

Fertility goddess. Romano-Celtic (Gallic and 

British). Consort to the god Mercury. Probably 

locally worshiped and often depicted carrying a 
basket of fruit, purse or cornucopia. She and Mer- 
cury frequently appear together. In addition to 
her purse, she may bear a twin-headed ax or, 
alternatively, she may carry Mercury's caduceus 
(snake-entwined wand). 
See also Mercurius. 

Rsabha (the bull) 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). An unusual 
avatara of ViSNU. Said to be similar to the Jain 



deity Rsabhanatha and therefore may represent 
an attempt to meld the two reUgions by absorb- 
ing Jainism locally. 

Ruamoko 

God of volcanoes and earthquakes. Polynesian 
and Maori. According to tradition, Ruamoko is 
the youngest son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku 
and is possessed by a formidable temper. When 
his older siblings set about separating the prime 
parents from their eternal lovemaking in order to 
allow light into the space between sky and earth, 
he was enraged and his boisterous tantrum 
became revealed in the violence of volcanic erup- 
tions and earthquakes. 

Ruamoko is of less importance than Pele, the 
chief volcano goddess of Polynesia, who is 
revered mainly in Hawaii. 

Rubanga 

Creator god. Alur [Uganda and Democratic 
Republic of Congo, Africa]. His sacred bird is 
the ibis. 

Ruda 

Tutelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. An 
androgynous being symbolized by the evening 
star. Also Arsu (Palmyra). 

Rudiobus 

Probably a horse god. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). 
Known from an inscription at Neuvy-en-SulUas 
which includes a depiction of a stallion. 

Rudra (howler) 

Weather god. Hindu (Vedic). An early deity, 
largely superseded by SiVA, who controls the gales 

and storms. Often linked with the fire god Agni 
and the rain god Indra. Generally a malignant 



268 Rudracandra 



god, Rudra lives in the moimtains and is deemed to 
be either tall or dwarf, depending on the severity of 
the storm. He brings death and disease to man and 
domestic animals through his "thousand shafts," 
and is considered to be highly unpredictable. 

Rudracandra 

Distinct form of the goddess DURGA. Hindu. One 
of a group of nine Navadurgas, known as the 
"nine durgas." 

Rudracarcika 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Puranic). One of the 
ASTAMATARAS, alternatively a variety of the god- 
dess DURGA. 

Rudrani 

Goddess. Hindu. An epithet of DuRGA, imper- 
sonated by a young pre-menstrual girl in the 
Durga festivals. 

Rugievit 

Local tutelary and war god. Slav. Identified by 
the historian Saxo Grammaticus as inhabiting the 
island of Riigen, depicted with seven heads and 
carrying a sword. 

Ruhanga 

Creator god. Bunyoro [Uganda, East Africa]. The 
initiator of the world, he is regarded as a distant 
figure and seldom invoked. 

Rukmini (with gold ornaments) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The daugh- 
ter of Bhismaka, she is the first consort of Krsna 



and typically stands to his right. Her son is KAMA. 
She is also an avatara of Laksmi. Attribute: a 
lotus. Also Rukmabayi. 

Rumina 

Minor goddess. Roman. Associated with breast- 
feeding. 

Rundas 

God of fortune. Hittite and Hurrian. Also associ- 
ated with hunting, he is symbolized by a double 
eagle carrying prey in its talons. 

Rupini 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Buddhakapala. 

Ryangombe 

Tutelary god. Rwanda [East Africa]. An ancestral 
deity and king of the spirit world who has an orac- 
ular capacity. 

Ryujin 

Dragon god. Shinto [Japan]. A deity control- 
ling thunder and rain and probably the most 
significant of the group of weather gods 
known as the Raijin. He is of Chinese origin 
and more Buddhist than Shinto. He does not 
appear in the sacred Shinto texts Kojiki or 
Nihoitgi, but enjoys shrines in many Shinto 
sanctuaries and is worshiped by farmers, par- 
ticularly in times of drought. He lives in the 
sea, lakes and large ponds from which he 
ascends in mists and winds. He generates dark 
rain clouds which then burst. His main festival 
takes place in June. 



s 



Sa 

Chthonic creator god. Kono [eastern Guinea, 
West Africa]. One of a pair of creator deities, with 
Alatangana. Sa inhabited the primeval swamps 
before the sky or the Hght existed and before there 
were any living things on earth. He had a daugh- 
ter who eloped with Alatangana and bore fourteen 
children, three pairs of black and four pairs of 
white, all of whom spoke different languages and 
to whom Sa gave the tools of survival. 

SABAOTH 

ORIGIN Gnostic Christian [eastern 

Mediterranean]. Creator god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP uncertain origins 

until circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none, but see below. 
center(s) of cult undefined cells within the 

area of early Christian influence. 
ART REFERENCES none. 
LITERARY SOURCES Nag Hawmadi codices. 

Sabaoth, in Gnostic cosmogony, is one of the 
seven offspring of the "primal parent" Yald- 
ABAOTH. The narrative which emerges in such 
works as Origin of the World is confused and in 
places contradictory. Sabaoth rebelled against his 
father, who had become arrogant and impious. 



and backed the primordial female force Sophia 
who, having been responsible for Yaldabaoth, was 
horrified at what she had created. She describes 
Yaldabaoth as "a blind god, Samael." Sabaoth is 
joined by seven benign archangels and in the first 
great battle of the cosmos comes to rule over all, 
including the forces of chaos. Arguably Sabaoth 
equates to the god of Israel, Yhwh. 

Sabazios 

God. Phrygian [northwestern Turkey] . Eventually 
Hellenized, identified with Zeus and DiONYSOS 
and linked with Dionysiac mysteries, appearing 
in Athens from circa 400 BC His device is a right 
hand cast in bronze and decorated with symbols 
representing his benevolence. His influence 
extended into Roman culture where he reached a 
height of popularity cfrca AD 200. As late as AD 300 
there are frescoes of Sabazios in the tomb of Vibia 
whose husband was a priest of the god's cult. 

Sadaksari (Lokesvara) 

Variety of Avalokitesvara. Buddhist-Lamaist 
[Tibet]. The form of Avalokitesvara that is incar- 
nate in the succession of Dalai Lamas. Color: 
white. Attributes: book, conch, jewel, lotus and 
rosary. 



269 



270 Sadbhuja-Sitatara 



Sadbhuj a-Sitatara 

God. Buddhist. An emanation of Amoghasiddhi 
and a variety of Sitatara. Color: white. Attributes: 
arrow, blue lotus, bow, image of Amoghasiddhi on 
crown, lotus and rosary. Three-headed. 

Sadhumad (good) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of sev- 
eral deified Bhumis recognized as different spir- 
itual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: white. Attributes: staff, and sword on a 
blue lotus. 

Sadrapa 

God of healing. Western Semitic (Syrian) and 
Pontic. He is depicted on reliefs as a youth hold- 
ing a scorpion or snake. Known originally from 
Palmyra, his popularity spread to Carthage and, 
during the Hellenic period, to the Greek coast. 
Also Satrapis (Greek). 

Sagaramati (mind of the ocean) 
God. Buddhist. A BODHISATTVA or buddha- 
designate. Color: white. Attributes: conch, and 
sword with staff. 

Sahar 

Moon god. Western Semitic (Aramaic). Known 
from inscriptions. 

Sai' Al Qaum (the good and beautiful god 

who does not drink wine) 
Local guardian deity. Western Semitic (Nabataean). 
Known from two inscriptions at Palmyra which 
suggest him to be a protector of caravans. Attributes 
include a helmet. He may have developed from an 
Egyptian god Sai (Greek: Psais). 



Sajara 

Rainbow god. Songhai [eastern Mali, West 
Africa]. Perceived as a rainbow-colored snake and 
symbolized by a tree where white rams are sacri- 
ficed and hung. The animals' blood is sprinkled 
on the tree. The ritual is accompanied by a rain 
dance. 

SAKHMET (the powe}fiil one) 
ORIGIN Egyptian. Goddess of war. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC untU 

the end of Egyptian history circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Sachmet; possibly Sesmetet. 
center(s) of cult Heliopolis, Memphis and 

other sanctuaries along the Nile valley. 
ART references sculptures, particularly at Kar- 

nak from sixteenth century BC onward; wall 

paintings, royal tombs at Thebes, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES coffin texts, royal tombs at 

Thebes, etc. 

Sakhmet is a significant deity in the Egyptian 

New Kingdom at Memphis. Her father is the 
sun god Re and she is the consort of Ptah. She 
is, by implication, the mother of the god of 
the primordial lotus blossom, Nefertum. In 
iconography Sakhmet is generally depicted in 
human form, but with the head of a lioness 
surmounted by a sun disc. Occasionally she is 
drawn with a rosette pattern over each breast 
(see Istar). 

Sakhmet is, to an extent, syncretized with the 
goddess MuT, who is the consort of the sun god 
of Thebes, Amun. In the Karnak complex large 
numbers of Sakhmet's statues, typically hewn in 
black granite and in which she holds the ankh 
symbol of life or a papyrus stem, were raised in 
the precinct of the Mut sanctuary. 

She is said to breathe fire against the enemies of 
the pharaoh and, like Hathor in her attempt to 
destroy the human race, she can be the vengefial 



Salus 271 



"eye of Re." She is sometimes linked with Hathor 

who is described as the "mistress of the house of 
Sakhmet." hi a more benign aspect, Sakhmet is a 
guardian goddess against disease. 

Sakka(n) 

God of cattle. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). A patron god of herdsmen, probably 
deriving from the Sumerian god Lahar. Also 
Amakandu, Sumuqan. 

Sakra (the mighty one) 

God. Buddhist. The god of the month asvina and 
an epithet of the Vedic god INDRA. 

Sakd (energy) 

Personification of a god. Hindu, Jain and Bud- 
dhist. The effective power, or creative force, of 
a deity in the form of a female aspect. In a 
more specific context, the Sakti identifies the 
creative force of the god Siva, particularly the 
ugra or violent aspects DuRGA and Kali. The 
Sakti may frequently have the same characteris- 
tics and carry the same attributes as the 
principal god. In Tantrism, the unity of 
opposites is defined by the Sakti, which is the 
yoni or female sexuality that unites with the 
male Ungam of Siva. 

Sakumo 

God of war. Gan [Accra region, Ghana, West 
Africa]. The guardian deity of the Gan tribe. 

Sakyamuni (the sage of the Sakyas) 
God. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. The historical 
Buddha, known mainly from Tibet. He stands 
upon a lotus. Color: golden. Attribute: a bowl. 



Sala 

War goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akka- 
dian). A consort of Adad, she carries a double- 
headed mace-scimitar embeUished with Hon heads. 

Salagrama 

Aniconic form of the god ViSNU. Hindu (late). A 
fossil ammonite shell embodying the god and 
forming a part of daily ritual in many Vaisnava 
households as well as appearing in monasteries. 

Salevao 

Primordial god of rocks. Polynesian. He is the 
brother of Savea Si'ULEO, god of the dead, and 
the consort of Papatuanuka, the earth mother, 
who became pregnant and gave birth to Moa in 
the center of the earth. (Moa may have been the 
ancestor of mankind, roughly equating to Adam.) 

Salim 

God of evening. Western Semitic (Syrian). Gen- 
erally hnked with Sar, the god of dawn. 

Salm of Mahram (image of Mahram) 
Local totelary god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Correspondence of the Babylonian king Nabonidus 
(559-539 BC) mentions that this deity was wor- 
shiped at Taima, an important trade and reUgious 
center where he was head of the pantheon. Gods in 
the region were often named after local places and 
personified by a stone stele carved with schematic 
anthropomorphic featores and a winged disc show- 
ing strong Egyptian influence. Also Salman. 

Salus (salvation) 

Minor god of health. Roman. A sanctuary dated 
to 302 BC on the Quirinal, one of the seven hills 



272 Sama 



of Rome, is dedicated to the deity. He was also 
worshiped within the colonies of the empire. 
There is an altar at Corbridge in Northumber- 
land, England with a votive inscription to Salus. 
Attributes include a bowl and a snake. 

Sama 

Obscure heroic god. Dravidian (Tamil) [south- 
ern India] . Known circa first to fifth century AD. 
The younger brother of the god of love Kama 
and equating to Samba, worshiped in northern 
India. 

Satnael 

Creator god. Gnostic Christian. The "blind god." 

See also Yaldabaoth. 

Sainantabhadra (all-good) 

God. Buddhist. A form of Vairocana and a 

dhyanibodhisattva (spiritual meditation buddha). 

He sits on a throne carried by a white elephant. 
Color: blue, green or white. Attributes: bell, cup, 
jewel, lotus with prayer wheel or sword. In Tibet 
he is also known as Kun-tu-bzan-po. 
See also Bo HsiAN. 

Samantaprabha (possessing universal splendor) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of 
several deified Bhumis recognized as different 
spiritual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: red. Attributes: an image of Amitabha 
carried in the hand, and a staff. 

Samas 

Sun god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). 
The patron deity of Sippar and Larsa. His consort 
is the mother goddess A-A. Samas derives from 



the god Utu in the Sumerian pantheon. He is 
associated with justice. His symbol is the sun disc 
and a star surrounded with radiating sunbeams. 
He may carry a single-headed scimitar embel- 
lished with a panther head. His sanctuary is 
known as the E-babbar. Also associated with 
human-headed bulls. His attendant deities 
include Mesaru, justice, and Kettu, righteousness. 
He came to much greater prominence in the 
pantheon at Babylon from about the eighteenth 
century BC. 

Samba 

Heroic god. Hindu [northern India]. The son of 
Krsna and RUKMINI, alternatively the son of 
ViSNU. The yotmger brother of the god KAMA 
and consort of Indukari. Also one of the minor 
incarnations of Visnu worshiped in the cult of the 
pancaviras by the Vrisni clans. 

Samkarsana 

Localized form of Balarama. Dravidian (Tamil) 
[southern India and Sri Lanka]. Has a complexion 
"white Uke milk," wears a blue robe with a red 
garland and carries a nanjil (plough). 

Sampsa (sedge) 

Vegetation god. Pre-Christian Finnish. He is per- 
ceived as a giver of life to seed which hes dormant 
through the winter months. His unnamed con- 
sort, to whom he is wed in a form of sacred 
marriage which takes place at sowing time, is also 
his stepmother. 

Sams 

Sun deity. Pre-Islamic Arabian. In the north the 
being is male, in the south female. Probably 
derived from Samas. 



Saning Sari 273 



Samvara (keeping out) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). One of the emana- 
tions of Aksobhya and also of Hevajira. In 
Lamaism he is a four-headed tutelary y-^izm god. 
His Sakti if Vajravarahi. He stands upon one or 
more four- armed Hindu deities including Kalara- 
tri and Bhairava. Color: blue or black. Attrib- 
utes: ax, bell, cup, drum, image of Aksobhya on 
the crown, image of four-faced BRAHMA, knife, 
moon disc, skin, staff and trident. 

San Chou Niang Niang 

Mother goddess. Chinese. First deified during 
the Sung Dynasty (AD 960-1279) to combat the 
popularity of KuAN Yin, no mortal existence is 
recognized for this deity who is referred to 
simply as "heavenly mother." By tradition she 
rules over the "islands of the blessed," the three 
mythical islands which are the home of the gods. 
She is depicted wearing a yellow robe signifying 
imperial rank and carries the attribute of a 
scepter. Typically she displays an enigmatic smile. 

gSan Sgrub 

God. Bon and Lamaist [Tibet]. Originally a Bon 
deity who became syncretized as a variety of the 
god Yama in Lamaism. His animal is the bull and 
he may appear bull-headed. Color: red. Attrib- 
utes: cup, knife and prayer wheel. 

Sandhya 

Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The daugh- 
ter of Brahma and consort of SrvA or other deities. 

San-Dui 

Tatelarygod. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a 
group of Lamaist tutelary or yi-dam deities cho- 
sen on an individual basis as personal guardians. 



Color: blue. Attributes: bell, jewel, lotus, prayer 
wheel, regal trappings, staff and sword. Three- 
eyed and three-headed. 

Sangarios 

River god. Phrygian [northwestern Turkey]. A 
Hellenized version of an Asiatic god whose 
daughter, Nana, is, according to some traditions, 
the mother of the vegetation god Attis. She 
impregnated herself with an almond seed. 

Sango 

God of thunder. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
His sacred animal is the ram whose bellowing is 
likened to the noise of thimder. Attributes include 
an ax which is worn on the head and bears six eyes. 

Sani 

1. Astral god. Hindu. The son of SuRYA and 
Chaya and the personification of the planet 
Saturn. Stands upon a lotus or rides in an iron 
chariot drawn by eight piebald horses. Color: 
black or blue. Attributes: arrow, bow, rosary, staff 
and trident. 

2. Astral god. Buddhist. Stands upon a tortoise. 
Color: blue-black. Attribute: a staff. 

Saning Sari 

Rice mother. Javan. Represented by parts of the 
rice plant known as indoea padi (mother of the 
rice). At planting, the finest grain is picked out 
and sown in the nursery bed in the form of the 
goddess, after which the rest of the grain is sown 
round about. At transplanting, the shoots making 
up the rice mother are given a similar special 
place in the paddy field. At harvesting, the rice 
mother plants are "found" and brought home for 
the following year's planting. 



274 Sanjna 



Sanjna (conscience) 

Goddess. Hindu. The daughter of Tvastar, a 
consort of SuRYA and, in some texts, the mother 
ofYAMA. 



Sanju 

Harvest goddess. Kafir [Afghanistan]. A little- 
reported deity, the consort of the war god GiSH 
and daughter of Sanu. She controls the har- 
vesting, threshing and winnowing of grain and 
the safe storage of wheat and butter. She carries 
a golden winnow and is either depicted in 
human form or as a goat. Her cult is known 
chiefly from the village of Pronz in the south- 
ern Hindukush where she enjoyed an important 
sanctuary with stone seats around the icon, part 
of which reportedly still exists. Wooden statues 
depict her in human form, nude to the waist. 
Alternatively, she is perceived as a bird that acts 
as a messenger. The blood of sacrificial animals 
was poured over the figure. Also Sulmech; 
Sanu. 

Sankari 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of the Saptamataras. 

Sankha(pala) 

Snake god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 
a group of seven MahanagaS or nagadevas. 
Attributes: cup and rosary. Three-eyed. 

Satuniikha (six-headed) 
God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A form of 
Skanda and the son of Pasupati and Svaha. God 
of the month asadha. His Saktis include VlJAYA 
and Jaya. He holds a large variety of attributes. 
Also Arumukan. 



Santa (appeased) 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who is one of a group of both Saptamatara 
and ASTAMATARA mothers. Also Camunda. 

Santana (ojfspring) 

Minor god. Hindu. The son of Ugra and DiKSA. 
Also the personification of one of the five trees of 
paradise. 

Santi (peace of mind) 

Goddess. Hindu. The consort of Trivikrama. 

Santoshi Mata 

Mother goddess. Modern Hindu. She first 
appeared in northern India in 1960 and has since 
developed a sizeable cult following. She is 
invoked to assist in gaining personal advancement 
and prosperity. 

Sanu 

God of obscure affinities. Kafir (Afghanistan). 
The father of the goddess Sanju and an adversary 
of the war god Glsh. Described as a "MusHm," so 
perhaps of foreign import. Also Sanru. 

Sao Ching Niang Niang 

Mother goddess. Chinese. One of the "nine dark 
ladies" of the pantheon who adopt a protective 
role. She removes rain clouds when they threaten 
to flood crops. 

Sapas 

Sun god. Western Semitic (Canaanite). Modeled 
on the Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) 
god Samas. 



SARASVATI 275 



Saptatnatara 

Generic title of a group of mother goddesses. 
Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Seven deities of evil 
influence, who generally inflict disease or other 
harm on children. Common color: red. Attrib- 
utes: cup and lotus. 

Sar 

God of the dawn. Western Semitic (Syrian). 
Generally linked with the god of evening, Salim. 

Sara 

Minor war god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). Mainly identified with the 
city of Umma, north east of Unug (Uruk), and 
identified in some texts as the son of INANA (ISTAR). 

Saraddevi (goddess of autumn) 
Fertility and vegetation goddess. Buddhist- 
Lamaist [Tibet]. Associated with autumn, and 
an attendant of the goddess Sridevi. Her sacred 
animal is an antelope. Attributes: cup, knife and 
peacock feather. 

Sarama (the nimble one) 
Attendant goddess. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and 
Puranic). She acts as a messenger to the god 
Indra and guards his herds. In later Hindu texts 
Sarama is reputedly the mother of all dogs and is 
given the epithet the "bitch of heaven." The Rg 
Veda accounts her as having punished the minor 
deity Panis for steaUng cows. 

Saranyu (the fleet one) 

Primordial goddess of uncertain affinities. Hindu 
(Vedic). Saranyu is the daughter of the god TVAS- 
TAR, and the sister of VISVARUPA. Her consort is 
Vivasvat, by whom she is said to be the mother of 



Yama and Yami, the twin progenitors of the 
human race. Little else is known of her, but she is 
accounted as having an impetuous nature. 
See also VWASVAN. 

Sarapis 

God. Late Egyptian. Known only from the 
Greco-Roman period of the early Ptolemies 
(fourth century BC) but persisting in Europe until 
second or third century AD. In Egyptian religion 
Sarapis is a hybridization of certain aspects of 
Osiris, the underworld god, and Apis, the buU 
god, who symbolizes the earthly presence of 
Ptah. Sarapis is perceived to epitomize both the 
fertility of the land and the life of the sacred bull 
after death. In Greek mythology he takes on 
aspects of Zeus, Helios, Asklepios and 
DiONYSOS. He was worshiped extensively in the 
Roman Empire period. A sanctuary at York in 
England was dedicated by a soldier of the sixth 
legion, and magnificent statues were discovered 
in the Walbrook Mithraeum in London, and at 
Merida in Spain. Also Seraphis (Greek). 

SARASVATI (flowing water) 
ORIGIN Hindu (Vedic, Epic, and Puranic) [India]. 
Mother goddess and goddess of wisdom. Later, 

patron of the arts. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 600 BC, but 

undoubtedly based on much earlier prehistoric 

models, tmtil present. 
SYNONYMS Brahmi; Vagdevi (goddess of speech). 

Other epithets include Bharati. 
center(s) OF CXJLT throughout India. 
art references sculptures generally in bronze, 

but also in stone. Reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda and other Vedic 

texts; Ramayana epic and Puranic texts. 

Sarasvati, as an identifiable personaUty, may have 
begun as a Vedic river goddess (the actual river 



276 Sarpanitu(m) 



Sarasvati has now disappeared but she may also be 
linked with the Indus, etc). In the Vedic capacity 
her waves are said to smash mountains and her 
voice is the roar of the torrent. Since her source 
of strength is the primeval water, she is inex- 
haustible and she is a bringer of fertility and 
bountiful harvests. Thus, by inference, she also 
provides prosperity. Her presence purifies and, 
in antiquity, she slew Vrtra, the demonic god of 
chaos. In her capacity as a Vedic goddess she is 
invoked on the sacrificial field with the lesser 
goddesses ILA, Bharati, Mam and Hotra. 

In later Puranic literature Sarasvati (Brahmi) 
becomes the first consort of the creator god 
Brahma (see also Gayatri). Other texts offer her 
in contention with Laksmi as consort of ViSNU. 
She also became syncretized with the goddess 
Vac. She is said to have invented Sanskrit and is 
identified as goddess of wisdom and of the arts. 
The Vedas are her inspiration and she may be 
known as the "mother of the Vedas." A Hindu fes- 
tival in her honor is celebrated in early January or 
late February. She is a patron goddess of students, 
and books, pencils and pens are offered to her by 
children before they begin classes. Her image 
often appears on the portals of school gates. 

She is generally depicted with either two or 
four arms. Color: white. She may be seated or 
ride upon a swan or a peacock or a lotus. Attrib- 
utes include particularly the lute but also arrow, 
bell, book, bow, conch, club, hook, prayer wheel, 
rosary, waterjar and other items. She may offer a 
piece of sugar cane or a flower to Brahma. Infre- 
quendy three-headed. 

Sarpanitu(m) See Zarpanitum. 

Sarra Itu 

Fertility goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). Originally the tutelary 



deity of the city of Su-Sin. By Hellenistic times 
she probably became the more important god- 
dess Sarrahitu who is included in the pantheon at 
Uruk and mentioned in various cult texts where 
she is described as "the bride" and was presum- 
ably involved in a sacred marriage ceremony. 

Sarrahitu See Sarra Itu. 

Sarritor 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Invoked dur- 
ing growing and harvesting of crops. 

Samima 

God. Hittite and Hurrian. Originally a Hurrian 
deity adopted by the Hittite state reUgion. The son 
of the weather god Tesub and his consort Hebat. 
His sacred animal is a panther. Attribute: ax. 

Sarvabuddhadharma-Kosavati (with the 

virtues of all the buddhas) 
God of literature. Buddhist. The deification of 
texts. One of a group of Dharanis. Color: yellow. 
Attributes: basket of jewels and staff. 

Sarvakarmavaranavisodhani (washing 

away the obstruction of all deeds) 
God of literature. Buddhist. The deification of 
texts. One of a group of DHARANIS. Color: green. 
Attribute: staff. 

Sarvanivaranaviskambhin (remover of stain) 
God. Buddhist (Muhnyana). A dhyaniboddhisattva 
or spiritual meditation buddha. Color: white. 
Attributes: book, jewel, moon disc, sword and 
staff 



Satis 277 



Sarvapayanjaha (remover of miseries) 
God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A dhymtiboddhisattva 
or spiritual mediation buddha. Color: white. 
Attribute: hook in two hands. 

Sarvasokatamonirghatamati (destroyer of 
sorrow) 

God. Buddhist. A dhyanibodhisattva or spiritual 
meditation buddha. 

Sarvastramahajvala (the great blaze of all 
weapons) 

Goddess of learning. Jain [India] . One of sixteen 
ViDYADEVi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Sasanadevata 

Messenger goddess. Jain [India]. Generic name 
for one of a group of twenty-four who minister to 
the tirthankaras or saints of Jainism. 

Sasuratum 

Midwife goddesses. Western Semitic (Canaanite). 
A group of seven female deities fathered by Baal. 
Also Kosharot (Hebrew). 

Satabhisa 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A malevolent naksatra; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Satarupa (with a hundred forms) 

Minor goddess. Hindu (Puranic). The daughter 

of Brahma with whom he committed incest 

and whose beauty caused him to generate 

four heads so that he might view her from all 

directions. 



SATI (truth) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. 

Mother goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400 until 

present. 
SYNONYMS Sakti, Parvati 
center(s) of cuef none specific. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures generally in bronze, 

but also in stone. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana and other texts. 

Sati is the older incarnation of the benign 

aspect of the goddess Sakti. Alternatively she is 
perceived as an incarnation of Laksmi. Accord- 
ing to legend her father was Daxsa and her 
mother Prasutl She bore sixteen daughters, 
the youngest of whom was Sati. She is perceived 
as an ideal Hindu wife and mother who, as a 
maiden, falls in love with the god SiVA. At her 
choosing-of-a-husband ceremony she is dis- 
tressed that her father has not invited Siva and 
throws her bridal wreath into the air, whereupon 
Siva appears in front of her. She becomes the 
consort of Siva, but the marital association is 
generally recognized when he is in his form 
known as Bhava, an epithet meaning "existence." 
Eventually she dies at Daksa's feet from the self- 
immolating heat of her own purity and zeal. She 
is reincarnated as Parvati. 

The mythology is the basis of the practice of 
self-sacrifice which came to be known as sati or 
suttee. She is also connected with fire-walking 
rituals. 

Satis (she who shoots; she who pours) 
Minor goddess. Egyptian. A guardian of the 
southern (Nubian) border of Upper Egypt. The 
consort of the ram god Khnum and, by implica- 
tion, the mother of Anukis. She is depicted wear- 
ing the conical white crown of Upper Egypt, 
bearing tall plumes or antelope horns. Satis is 



278 Satrughna 



described in Pyramid Texts, particularly the Step 

Pyramid at Saqqara, and there is reference to a 
sanctoary built for her at Elephantine. Also Satjit; 
Satet (both Egyptian). 

Satrughna (destroyer of foes) 
Minor god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The 
brother of Laksmana and a half-brother to the 
god Rama. His mother is Sumitra. He may be 
depicted holding a fly whisk in each hand. 
See also LAKSMANA. 

Satumus 

Astral god. Roman. Identified with the planet 
Saturn, but thought to have originated as an 
agricultural deity concerned with sowing of 
seed. A sanctuary existed on the Roman forum 
from as early as 450 BC, also functioning as the 
imperial treasury. Saturnus was celebrated 
in the Saturnalia festival (December 17-19) dur- 
ing which masters and slaves exchanged roles 
and candles were given as gifts to symbolize the 
winter darkness. 

Satyabhama (with true luster) 
Goddess. Hindu-Dravidian (Tamil). Known 
particularly from southern India as the second 
consort of Krsna, who stands on her left; 
also as the secorid consort of ViSNU. Attribute: 
a flower. 

Satyr 

Woodland god. Greco-Roman. Generic term 
for an assortment of divine beings with a 
human torso and the legs, hair and horns of 
a goat. They include the god PAN and the 
demigod Silenus who raised the adolescent 
Bacchus. 



Saubhagya-Bhuvanesvari (buddha of good 

fortune) 

Goddess of good fortone. Buddhist. A gentle and 
benevolent deity. Color: red. Attributes: red lotus, 
and waterjar with jewels. 

Saiile 

Sun goddess. Pre-Christian Latvian. Also having 
agricultural links, she is perceived as living on a 
heavenly farm atop a mythical mountain and 
invoked to induce fertiUty and ripening among 
crops. Her consorts are the sky god DiEVS and the 
moon god Meness. 

Sauska 

Fertility goddess. Hittite and Hurrian. Of Hur- 
rian origin, Sauska was adopted by the Hittite 
state religion. She is also identified with war and 
is particularly renowned as a goddess of healing. 
She is depicted in human form with wings, stand- 
ing with a lion and accompanied by two atten- 
dants. Sauska is known in detail only because she 
became the patron goddess of the Hittite king 
HattusiUs n (1420-1400 bc). 

Savari 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist-Lamaist 

[Tibet]. One of a group of gauris. Color: white. 
Attributes: holding the mountain known as Mem. 

Savea Si'uleo 

God of the dead. Polynesian. The brother of 
Salevao, god of rocks. 

Savitar (impeller) 

Sun god. Hindu (Puranic). The original Vedic 
list of six descendants of the goddess Aditi or 



Semele 279 



Adityas, all of whom take the role of sun gods 
was, in later times, enlarged to twelve, including 
Savitar. The god of the rising and setting sun. 
Color: golden. Attributes: club, prayer wheel and 
two lotuses. 

Saxnot 

Tutelary god. Saxon. He is mentioned beside 
Woden and Thunor as one of the deities to be 
renounced at Christian baptism. As Saxneat he 
was allegedly the founder of the Saxon royal 
dynasty in Essex. The name may derive from 
the word sahsginot meaning "companion of the 
sword." He may also equate with the German 
god Tyr. 

Say 

Minor god of destiny. Egyptian. Depicted 
wholly in human form. Say is mentioned in the 
Ani papyrus as being present at the ritual of 
the weighing of the heart, in company with 
funerary goddesses including Meskhenet, 
Sepset and Renenutet. In Greco-Roman 
times he was syncretized with the snake god 
Agathodaimon. 

Sebitti 

Group of minor war gods. Mesopotamian (Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). The children of the god Anu 
who follow the war god Erra into battle. They 
are, in alternative traditions, of good or evil influ- 
ence. In Greek tradition they become the 
Pleiades. 

Securita 

Guardian goddess. Roman. She was invoked to 
ensure the continuing stability of the Roman 
empire. 



Sed 

Guardian god. Egyptian. Popular as a personal 
deity and often identified on protective amulets. 

Sedna 

Sea goddess. Inuit [Baffin Land]. The mother of 
all the creatures of the sea and invoked by fisher- 
men. 

Sefkhet-Abwy (she who has seven horns) 
Local goddess of libraries and writing. Egyptian. 
Probably a form of the goddess Sesat. Depicted 
in human form bearing a seven-pointed star or 
rosette on her head below a bow-shaped object. 

Sekhet-Hor 

Cow goddess. Egyptian (Lower). The foster- 
mother of the god HORUS and particularly 
invoked to safeguard cattle. 

Selardi 

Moon god. Urartian [Armenia]. The counterpart 
of the Mesopotamian deity SiN. 

Selene (radiant) 

Moon goddess. Greek. The daughter of HYPER- 
ION (a Titan) and sister of the sun god Helios. 
The tutelary deity of magicians, she rides in a 
chariot drawn by two horses. According to legend 
she fell in love with the sleeping Endymion. She 
becomes largely syncretized with Hekate and in 
Roman culture equates with the goddess LXJNA. 

Semele (earth) 

Mother goddess. Greco-Roman but probably of 
Thracian or Phrygian origin. According to legend 



280 Semnocosus 



she was the mortal daughter of Cadmos and 
became the mother of the god Dionysos (Bac- 
chus) after a brief Uaison with Zeus (Jupiter), 
also in mortal guise. Semele was burned to death 
on Olympus, unable to withstand the presence of 
Zeus in godly form, but was subsequently deified 
by him. 

Semnocosus 

God of war. Romano-Iberian. Popular locally 
with troops of the Roman legions who occasion- 
ally sacrificed prisoners to him. 

Senx 

Sun god. Bella Coola Indian [British Columbia, 
Canada]. The ruler of the lower heaven, Sonx, in 
which is situated the home of the gods, Nusmeta 
(the house of myths). The only deity to whom the 
Bella Coola pray and make offerings. Hunters 
throw small pieces of mountain goat or seal flesh 
into a sacrificial fire. Also Ta'ata (our father); 
Smai'yakila (sacred one). 

Sepset 

Local funerary goddess. Egyptian. Known chiefly 
at Memphis, where she appears as an attendant at 
the ritual of the weighing of the heart. 

Sequana 

River goddess. Romano-Celtic (GalHc). The tute- 
lary goddess of the Sequanae tribe. A pre-Roman 
sanctuary northwest of Dijon near the source of 
the Seine has yielded more than 200 wooden 
votive statuettes and models of limbs, heads and 
body organs, attesting to Sequana 's importance as 
a goddess of healing. During the Roman occupa- 
tion the site of Pontes Sequanae was sacred to 
her and was again considered to have heaUng and 



remedial properties. A bronze statuette of a god- 
dess was found wearing a diadem, with arms 
spread and standing in a boat. The prow is in the 
shape of a duck, her sacred animal, with a cake in 
its mouth. Also found were models of dogs, an 
animal specifically associated with healing 
through its affinity with the Greco-Roman physi- 
cian deity AESCULAPIUS. 

Serida 

Mother goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Became known as Aya in the Akkadian pantheon. 

Serket(-hetyt) 

Minor mortuary goddess. Egyptian. Known 
from the middle of the third millennium BC, she 
protects the throne of the king in the guise of a 
scorpion. She is depicted in human form wear- 
ing a headpiece in the form of a scorpion with 
its sting raised. In the Pyramid Texts she is the 
mother of the scorpion god Nehebu-Kau. In 
her role as a mortuary goddess she is partly 
responsible for guarding the jars containing the 
viscera of the deceased. Although she is never 
identified as warding off the effect of scorpion 
stings, her influence has been regarded as effec- 
tive against other venomous attacks. Also Selkis 
(Greek). 

Sesa(naga) (remainder) 
Snake god or naga. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and 
Puranic). The great serpent lying in the primeval 
sea and encircling the world. The son of Kasyapa 
and Kadru. a many-headed attendant on ViSNU 
who uses the snake as a couch on which to rest 
between cycles of the universe. Its many hoods 
overshadow and protect him. Not technically a 
deity but important enough in literature to be 
included here. Also Adisesa; Ananta. 



SETH 281 



Sesat 

Goddess of libraries and the art of writing. Egjqjt- 
ian. Known from 2500 BC, or earlier, until the end 
of Egyptian history drca AD 400. She is depicted 
anthropomorphically bearing a seven-pointed star 
or rosette on her head, sometimes atop a wand and 
below a bow-shaped object. Early in her career she 
was associated with the ritual of "stretching the 
cord" during which boundary poles were rammed 
into the ground by the king before measuring out 
the foundations of a sanctuary. As a scribe she 
recorded the Usts of foreign captives and their trib- 
utes. At Kamak in Upper Egypt and at Dendara she 
recorded the royal jubilees on a notched palm stem. 
See also Sefkhet-Abwy. 

Sese 

Chthonic goddess. Ngbandi [Democratic Repub- 
lic of Congo, central Africa]. One of seven deities 
invoked at sunrise each day. 

Sesmetet 

Egyptian goddess. 
See also Sakhmet. 

Seta 

EertiHty goddess. Pokot and Suk [Uganda and 
western Kenya, East Africa]. The consort of the 
creator god ToRORUT who is embodied in the 
Pleiades. Their children are Ilat, the rain god; 
Arawa, the moon goddess; and Topoh, the 
evening star. The appearance of the Pleiades in the 
night sky marks the start of the planting season. 

SETH 

ORIGIN Egyptian. God of chaos and adversity. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP from 3000 BC or 

earlier until the end of Egyptian history, circa 

AD 400. 



SYNONYMS Set, Setekh, Setes, SUTEKH, Suty. 
center(s) of cult chiefly a sanctuary in Upper 

Egypt at Ombos-Naqada, but also in Lower 

Egypt, in the northeast of the Nile delta. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures, stone reliefs, wall 

paintings, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts, coffin texts. 

Book of the Dead, etc. 

Seth is a deity who generally represents hostility 
and violence, but who has also claimed consider- 
able respect. His parents are Geb and NUT and 
his fellow siblings include Isis, OsiRLS and Neph- 
THYS, who at times is also seen as his consort. 
More typically he is Unked with Semitic war god- 
desses including Anat and Astarte. Legend has 
it that he tore himself violently from his mother's 
womb. He is depicted in human form with the 
head of an animal that seems to bear faint simi- 
larity to an aardvark with erect ears and a long 
curving snout. He is also depicted in wholly ani- 
mal form, in which case the beast bears no real 
similarity to any living creature, but has a stiffly 
erect tail. Other animals symbolizing the god 
include the oryx, pig, boar and the hippopotamus 
when it is a disruptive element of the river. Seth 
is also represented by the crocodile (see Geb). 

Sometime during the middle of the third mil- 
lennium, in the II Dynasty, there was a break with 
the tradition whereby the kings of Egypt were 
linked with the god HORUS. The falcon symbol- 
ism of Horus was replaced with that of the crea- 
ture of Seth. Several Egyptian rulers followed his 
cult closely. Tuthmosis III in the XVIII Dynasty, 
for example, titled himself "the beloved of Seth." 

In the Osirian legend first recorded in the Pyra- 
mid Texts and later popularized and embellished 
by the Greek writer Plutarch, Seth is the jealous 
adversary of his brother Osiris (see Osiris for 
details). Later he fought an eighty-year war of 
attrition with the son of Osiris, the falcon god 
Horus (see also Horus). During this time, the 



282 Seyon 



implication remains diat he was favored by die 
sun god and only forceful wrangling resulted in 
victory falling to Horus as rightful overlord of 
the two Egyptian kingdoms. A separate mythol- 
ogy credits Seth with defense of the sun god Re 
as he is about to be swallowed by Apophis, the 
perennially hostile serpent god of the under- 
world. The so-called Book of the Dead accounts 
Seth as the "lord of the northern sky" who controls 
the storm clouds and thunder. 

Rameses II, in a treaty with the Hittites, 
implied a ftision of Seth with the Hittite storm 
god Tesub. 

Seyon (the red one) 

Creator god. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern India 
and Sri Lanka]. An early deity associated particu- 
larly with hilly regions in parts of southern India 
and thought to Uve in trees. Also Muruga. 

Sezmu 

Minor god of wine and oil presses. Egyptian. 
Known from circa 3000 BC until the end of 
Egyptian history, circa AD 400. In later iconogra- 
phy he is depicted as a lion, but more generally is 
in human form. Sezmu had a definite cult follow- 
ing in the fertile Eaiyum region of the Nile valley, 
but was probably represented in most sanctuaries, 
particularly where ritual unguents were made and 
stored. He is recognized in both benign and 
malevolent roles. In the latter he is reputed to 
squeeze human heads like grapes, but in benefi- 
cent mood he provides aromatic oils and oint- 
ments. 

Sga'na 

Sea god. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte Island, 
Canada]. Embodied in the killer whale {Oreo). 
The universe is beUeved to be inhabited by super- 



natural beings called Sga'na Qeda's for whom the 
land was first created. Also Masset San. 

Shadanana- Subr ahmany a 

Form of the god Karttikeya. Hindu (Puranic). 
The form possesses six heads and twelve arms. 
According to legend, the six heads arose because 
the fire god Agni had an adulterous relationship 
with the six consorts of the risis (astral gods) who 
all needed to suckle the offspring. Like Kart- 
tikeya, he is usually depicted riding on a peacock. 

Shang Kuo-Lao 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, tradition 
has it that he was embodied as a bat which 
achieved immortality in human form. His sacred 
animal is an ass. Attributes include drum and 
drumsticks. 
See also BaXian. 

Shang Ti 

Creator god. Taoist (Chinese). 
See also Yu Huang Shang Ti. 

Shango 

Chthonic storm god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West 
Africa]. As an earth deity he was once a mortal 
man, the king of Oyo, who transformed himself 
into an immortal. According to tradition, during 
his life he breathed tongues of fire. He then 
ascended into the sky by climbing a golden chain 
and became the god of thunder and lightning. He 
is also god of justice, punishing thieves and Uars. 
His consorts include Oya, Oshun and Oba. Cult 
followers of Shango are believed to be able to 
make lightning strike an adversary. In shrines to 
Shango, the image of the god is adorned with a 
ram's head. Also Sango. 



Shina-Tsu-Hime 283 



Shani 

Astral god and bringer of misfortune. Hindu 
(late). The cult of Shani evolved in about the 
eighth century AD with the advance of Indian 
astronomy. He is propitiated frequently to ward 
off ill-luck and may be depicted sitting on a lotus 
or riding in a chariot. Attribute: a staff. 



Shankpana 

Plague god. Yoruba [Nigeria, West Africa]. The 
son of Shango, he is credited with having once 
been a god of war who invaded the country (as a 
disease). He is particularly identified with small- 
pox. His symbol is the sesame plant which takes 
the form of a taboo and brings disease to those 
who take it into their house. A festival is held in 
September to propitiate Shankpana with sacri- 
fices of animals and fruit. 



Sheela Na Gig 

Mother goddess. Celtic (Irish). The primal earth 
mother closely associated with life and death. One 
of the rare depictions of Irish Celtic deities that 
have survived into the Christian era. She is shown 
naked, with large breasts, with her legs apart and 
holding open her vagina. The image frequently 
adorns walls of Irish churches. Also Sheila na 
Cioch. 



Shen Nung 

God of agriculture. Chinese. Known as the divine 
farmer. According to tradition, during his life- 
time he invented the plough and taught basic 
agriculture and the use of herbs. In a more 
destructive aspect, he is also the god of the hot 
winds. He is depicted with the head of an ox and 
is regarded by some authors as a successor to Nu 
KUA. Also Shen Nong. 



gShen-Lha-Odkhar 

God of light. Bon (pre-Lamaist) [Tibet]. In the 
ancient rehgion he is a creator deity from whom 
all other gods are engendered. In Lamaism he 
evolves into a god of wisdom. 

gShen-Rab 

Supreme god. Bon (pre-Lamaist) [Tibet] . In the 

ancient religion he is the remote and barely 
defined creator deity. Attributes include a lotus 
and swastika. 

Shichi-Fuku-Jin 

Gods of luck. Shinto [Japan]. The seven principal 
deities concerned with fortune: Ebisu, Daikoku, 
Benten-San, Bishamon, Fukurokuju, Hotei 
and JUNROJIN. The group is often represented 
together on their treasure ship Takara-Bune, 
which carries various magical devices including a 
hat of invisibility, a roll of brocade, an inex- 
haustible purse, keys to the divine treasure house 
and so on. 

Shina-Tsu-Niko 

God of winds. Shinto [Japan]. The most senior of 
his group of wind deities, he disperses the morn- 
ing mists and brings soft rustling breezes. His 
consort is Shina-Tsu-Hime and the couple are 
extensively worshiped by farmers and seafarers. 
They were allegedly responsible for bringing 
about a miracle in the thirteenth century AD when 
they kept at bay, with off-shore winds, the army of 
Gengis Khan. They are honored in the main Ise- 
Jingu temple of Shintoism but their chief sanctu- 
ary is at Tatta, a small town in Yamamoto. Also 
Shina-T)be-No-Mikoto . 

Shina-Tsu-Hitne See SmNA-Tsu-Nnco. 



284 Shomde 



Shomde 

Creator god of localized observance. Kafir 
[Afghanistan] . Known from various villages in the 
southern Hindukush. Shomde is regarded either 
as equating or senior to the more generally rec- 
ognized god Imra. According to observers he 
provides gold, silver and silk as well as butter, 
cheese, cream and flour. The main sanctuary was 
probably at the village of Dewa and in various 
wooden sculptures Shomde is depicted in human 
form. Also Wushum; Usum. 

Shong Li-Kuan 

Immortal being. Taoist (Chinese). One of the 
"eight immortals" of Taoist mythology, he was 
once a mortal being who achieved immortality 
through his lifestyle. Attributes include a fan 
which he waves over the dead to revive them. 
See also BaXian. 

Shong-Kui 

God of literature. Taoist (Chinese). According to 
tradition he committed suicide when he failed in 
his examinations. Also a guardian deity against 
demons, his attribute is a sword. 

Shou Lao 

God of longevity. Chinese. He originates as an 
astral deity but comes to head the heavenly min- 
istry responsible for setting the span of a person's 
Ufe. He is also known as Nan-ji Hsian Weng, "the 
ancient of the South Pole." His sacred animal is 
the crane, embodiment of long life. 

Shurdi 

Storm god. lUyrian [Albania]. BeUeved to send 
thunder and lightning and revered into more 
recent times. 



Si 

Moon god. Chimu Indian (pre-Columbian) 
[coastal regions of Peru] . The head of the pan- 
theon and guardian of weather and of harvests. 
He is depicted subtended by a sickle moon, 

wearing a feathered crown and an armored 
projection on his back. May also be represented 
as a goddess. 

Sia 

God of perception. Egyptian. Minor deity 
depicted at Re's right hand where he holds the 
papyrus of intellect. He travels in the sun god's 
barque. According to legend he was one of several 
deities formed in drops of blood falling from Re's 
penis. 

Si'a 

Minor attendant goddess. Western Semitic 
(Phoenician). The personification of the holiness 
of sanctuaries of Baal Samin. In Hellenic times 
she may have become syncretized with Tyche. 

Siddhi (accomplishment, success) 

Minor goddess of good fortune. Hindu (Epic and 

Puranic). A deity who grants favors. Sometimes 

associated with the elephant god Ganesa or 

Maila-Ganapati, on whose knee she may sit. In 

earlier times she was described as a consort of 

Bhaga. 

Si'duku 

Mother spirit. Kamchadal [southeastern 
Siberia]. The daughter of Kutkhu, Si'duku is 
the consort of her brother Ti'zil-Kutkhu and 
the mother of Amle'i. Amle'i married another 
uimamed daughter of Si'duku and fathered the 
Kamchadal race. 



Sina 285 



Siduri 

Minor goddess of brewing. Mesopotamian (Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). Also identified widi wisdom. 

Sif 

Corn goddess. Nordic (Icelandic) and Germanic. 
The consort of Thor. She is mentioned in the 
Eddaic Lay of Lokasenna and in the Lay of Har- 
barth. According to Snorri Sturluson she was 
originally a prophetess called Sibyl. She possesses 
great beauty and has long golden hair. Her sons 
are Ull and Loridi. According to tradition, LOKI 
cut off Sif 's hair in mischief, but when confronted 
and threatened by Thor, he had the dwarfs make 
her a magical hairpiece of pure gold which, when 
it touched her head, became a Uving part of her 
and grew. 

Sigyn 

Goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). The consort of 
LOKI and listed among the Aesir goddesses. Her 
son is Nari or Narfi. According to tradition, 
Skadi, the consort of NjORD, set a poisonous 
snake to drip poison on to a captive Loki but 
Sigyn collected most of the venom in a bowl and 
threw it away. 

Sikhandin (with a tiift of hair) 
Minor deity. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of a group of emancipated ViDYESVARAS (lords of 
knowledge) considered to be aspects of SiVA. 
Attributes: knife and sword. 

Sikhin 

Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among one of a series of medicine 
buddhas or sMan-Bla. Typically depicted with 
stretched earlobes. Color: yellowish red. 



NOTE: the term also defines the symbolic use 
of fire. 

Silaparamita (peifection of character) 
Philosophical deity. Buddhist. Spiritual offspring 
of Ratnasambhava. Color: white. Attributes: 
floral prayer wheel and jeweled staff. 

Silma Inua 

Supreme god. Inuit. A remote and vaguely 
defined figure only rarely invoked or prayed to. 

Silvanus 

Minor god of woodlands and forests. Roman. Wor- 
ship of Silvanus seems largely to have been limited 
to northern Italy. He became incorporated into the 
Celtic pantheon where his symboHsm includes a 
bill-hook, pots and hammers. His sacred animal is 
the stag. The name was extended to embrace 
groups of woodland deities, the Silvani or SUvanae. 

Si'mskalin 

Guardian spirit. Kamchadal [southeastern Siberia]. 
One of two sons of KUTKHU. 

Sin 

Moon god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). Derived from the older Sumerian 
model of Nanna. His consort is Nikkal (Nin- 
GAL). He is symbolized by the new moon and 
perceived as a bull whose horns are the crescent 
of the moon. Cult centers are identified at Ur, 
Harran and Neirab. Also Suen (archaic). 

Sina 

Moon goddess. Polynesian (Samoan). 
See also HiNA. 



286 Sindhu 



Sindhu 

River goddess. Hindu (Vedic). Identified only in 
die Rg Veda and of unknown source. 

Singala 

Local god. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. 
Mentioned only in name by the Babylonian 
king Nabonidus, worshiped at Taima and influ- 
enced strongly by Egyptian culture. 
See also Salm of Mahram. 

Sinhanada (lion V roar) 
Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. A vari- 
ety of AVALOKITESVARA. Typically depicted with 
stretched earlobes and attended by a lion. Color: 
white. Attributes: cup, fly whisk, image of the 
Amttabha on the crown, lotus, moon disc, rosary, 
skin, snake, sword and trident Three-eyed. Also 
accounted among one of a series of medicine 
huddhas or sMan-Bla. 

Sinivali 

Minor goddess of prosperity. Hindu (Vedic). 
Associated specifically with the boon of children. 
The mistress of the nuclear family. She is depicted 
as a matronly lady. 

Sins Sga'nagwai (power of the shining 
heavens) 

Supreme god. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte 
Island, Canada]. The god who gives power to all 
things. 

Siofh 

Goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). Listed by Snorri 
(Prose Edda) as one of the Aesir goddesses. 



Sipe Gialmo 

Mother goddess. Bon (pre-Lamaist) [Tibet]. The 
so-called "queen of the world." Her animal is a 
mule. Attributes: banner, bowl, parasol, swastika, 
sword and trident. Three-eyed. 

Sipylene 

Mother goddess. Smyrna (Anatolia) [west coast of 
Turkey] . The localized name of the great mother, 
worshiped in the Metroon sanctuary. 

Sirara 

Goddess of the Persian Gulf. Mesopotamian 
(Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian). In creation 
mythology she is given charge over the waters of 
the Gulf by the god Enki. 

Sirona 

Local goddess of healing. Romano-Celtic (Gal- 
Uc). Known from limited inscriptions in which 

she is usually associated with the god Grannus or 
with the Celtic Apollo. A sculpture from 
Hochscheid in the Moselle basin in Germany 
describes her with a snake round her wrist reach- 
ing toward a bowl of three eggs in her left hand. 
She may also have a small lapdog. Some authors 
suggest she has sky associations. 
See also DlVONA and Onuava. 

Sirsir 

God of mariners. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). The guardian of boatmen. 

Sirtur 

Sheep goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian and 
Babylonian-Akkadian). Known from inscriptions 



Sitatara 287 



and passing comments in texts. Syncretized with 
NiNSUN. 

Sisyphos 

Sun god. Corinthian. Specifically the god of the 
faded sun, probably equating to the Hittite 
weather god Tesub. 

SITA (furrow) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. 

Chthonic or earth goddess. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 300 BC and 

earlier through to present day times. 
SYNONYMS an avatara of Laksmi. 
center(s) OF CULT none specific. 
ART references Sculptures generally in bronze, 

but also in stone. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana ofValmiki and later 

Puranic literature. 

In Vedic mythology Sita is strictly an earth deity, 

born from a furrow and associated with plough- 
ing and ploughed fields. She appears as the con- 
sort of the rain gods INDRA and Parjanya. She 
usually stands to the right of Rama. In later 
times, effectively from AD 200 onward, Sita (see 
also Radha) is the consort of Rama, one of the 
major reincarnations of the god ViSNU, though 
she is generally eclipsed by the goddess Laksmi 
with whom she is seen as a separate aspect. 

Legend gives Sita an unhappy Hfe, though she 
epitomizes the perfect Hindu wife. Early in her 
marriage to Rama she is abducted by the foreign 
god Ravana, who carries her off to Lanka [Sri 
Lanka], where he imprisons her in a garden. 
Maintaining total fidelity to her husband, she 
returns to him inviolate, but he is skeptical of 
her purity and rejects her. Eventually, when she 
has threatened to immolate herself through the 



inner fire of her purity, Rama grudgingly has her 
back, though only briefly. His doubts return and, 
pregnant, she is banished to exile where she gives 
birth to twin sons. Rama's rejection finally takes 
its toll. Sita begs her mother, the earth, for sal- 
vation, whereupon a golden throne rises from 
the ground. She takes her place on it and 
descends forever while Rama is left eternally to 
mourn his loss. Attributes: blue lotus and a sin- 
gle braid of hair. 

Sitala(inata) (possibly meaning ^mother cold) 
Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of seven Saktis who in later Hinduism became 
regarded as of evil intent, inflicting sickness. Par- 
ticularly known from Bengal where she may be 
identified with the goddess Kali. Usually stand- 
ing naked upon a lotus or riding an ass. Alterna- 
tively symbolized by a stone on which a face is 
painted. Attribute: waterjar. 

Sitapatra (with a white umbrella) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Vairocana and a female BODmsATTVA or buddha- 
designate. Color: white. Attributes: arrow, bow, 
hook, noose, parasol, prayer wheel and white 
staff Sometimes three-eyed and three-headed. 

Sitatara (the 'white Tara) 
Goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. Of mild dis- 
position, she is regarded as one of the forms of the 
goddess Tara and an emanation of AviOGHASlD- 
DHi or Vairocana. In later times she became iden- 
tified as a female variety of AVALOKITESVARA 
Padmapani. By tradition she is the incarnation of 
a Chinese princess. Color: white. Attributes: arrow, 
blue or white lotus, bow, image of Amoghasiddhi, 
jewel, moon disc and rosary. Three- or seven-eyed. 



288 SIVA 



SIVA (the destroyer) 

ORIGIN Hindu [India]. Principal creative and 

destructive god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 300 BC, and 

probably earlier as Rudra, until present. 
SYNONYMS accredited with more than a thousand 

epithets in Hindu writings (see also Bhairava, 

Khandoba). 
center(s) of cult Benares, etc. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures generally in bronze, 

but also in stone; reliefs. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana epic and Puranic 

texts. 

Siva is a deity with the linked roles of both creator 
and destroyer of Hfe, more generally the latter. He 
personifies the inexorable passage of time and out 
of destruction he creates new life. He may have 
evolved from the Vedic storm god RUDRA, though 
he is now thought to be an older pre-Indo-Euro- 
pean deity whose attributes appear on seals from 
the Indus Valley civilization. His consort, or more 
precisely his female aspect, is Sakti, but he is also 
closely linked with the terrible Kali and the god- 
dess Sati. 

He is generally depicted in the role of an asce- 
tic with a blue-painted throat, attributed to hold- 
ing the primal poison Halahala in his throat 
before swallowing it to save mankind from its 
deadly effect. His sacred animal is the bull 
Nandi. He bears four arms (less commonly two) 
which hold a variety of attributes including a 
bow, a club to which is fastened a skull, a drum 
{damaru), representing the rhythm of creation, 
and a noose. He has a strong association with 
fire and may hold a ball of flame — the destructive 
corollary to creation. His symbol is the linga 
(phallus), often accompanied by the female yoni 
and these objects in stone may form the focus of 
worship. 

The Saivite sect envisage Siva as creator, pre- 
server and destroyer and he is manifest in three 



aspects of his own divine power. As the ascetic, 
represented by the Yogi, he is in his destructive 
aspect. His consorts are Kali and DuRGA. He 
destroys without emotion. The Yogi is naked, 
smeared with ashes and with matted hair, sitting 
tmder a banyan tree holding a beggar's bowl. As 
the "lord of the dance," Nataraja, Siva's steps 
follow the rhythm of the universal forces. He 
dances in a circle of fire, treading upon the 
dwarfish figure who is the personification of 
ignorance (see also Vamana). In this aspect he 
can be drawn as a joUy figure, a drinker of wine 
and a htmter. As the linga, the form of Siva which 
devotees generally worship, he is the symbol of 
creative powers. In his cosmic capacity he 
appears as Nataraja. 

Legend has it that Siva lives in Kailas, a place 
beyond the Himalaya. The Lingayats, a particu- 
lar Saivite sect founded in the twelfth century AD, 
may carry a small stone linga mounted in a silver 
box and worn round the neck or arm. Chiefly 
centered on southern India, sanctuaries to Siva 
are often home to devadasis, troupes of dancing 
girls who also serve as cultic prostitutes. Siva also 
enjoys popular worship as a domestic deity. 

See also Pancanana. 



Sivini 

Sun god. Urartian [Armenia]. Known from 
inscriptions. 

Sivottama (highest Siva) 
Minor god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of 
a group of emancipated Vidyesvaras (lords of 
knowledge) considered to be aspects of SiVA. 

Skadi 

Goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). One of the Aesir 
goddesses. The daughter of the giant Thiassi and 



Sobek 289 



consort of the god NjORD. By tradition she lives 
apart from her husband, he preferring the coast 
and she the mountains. She is described as "ski 
lady," a huntress who travels on skis and hunts 
game with a bow. She is constantly at odds with 
the god LOKi and on one occasion, when he had 
been captured and held down with stones, she 
tried to poison him by suspending a poisonous 
snake over his face. Loki's consort SiCiYN saved 
him by collecting the venom in a bowl. 

SKANDA 

ORIGIN Hindu (Epic and Puranic) [India]. God of 
war. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 300 BC or 

earlier \mtil present. 
SYNONYMS Kumara; Karttikeya; Subrahmanya; 

many other minor epithets. 
center(s) oe cult various. 
ART references Sculptures generally in bronze, 

but also in stone. 
LITERARY SOURCES Ramayana and Mahabharata 

epics; Puranic texts. 

Regarded as the leader of the divine army of gods. 
One of the sons of SrvA, his birth is accounted in 
bizarre fashion. The gods persuaded Siva and 
Paevati to curb their incessant love-making. The 
vast quantity of unused semen then had to be dis- 
posed of. After shuttling it between fire (Agni) 
and water (Ganges), Brahma placed it on the 
mountain of the rising sun where, after ten mil- 
lennia, it became Skanda. 

His consorts include Kaumari (Devasena) and 
Valli, and his sons are Sakha, Visakha and 
Naigameya. Perceived as virile and youthfiil, his 
name may signify the emission of semen. He is 
also seen as "one who jumps" while fighting and 
his sacred animals include the peacock and the 
cockerel, the latter being both aggressive and a 
jumper. Attributes: banner, cockerel, hatchet. 



peacock feather and staff. He may also carry a 
wider assortment of objects and weapons. As 
Karttikeya he is often depicted bearing six heads 
and twelve arms. 

Smertrios 

God of war. Celtic (Gallic). The tutelary deity of 
the Treveri. Allegedly the subject of a votive mon- 
ument which depicts a bearded god holding a 
snake. 

Smiti (tradition) 

Minor god. Buddhist (Mahayana). 

Snulk'ulxa'Is 

Archetypal god. Bella Coola Indian [British 
Columbia, Canada]. The old ruler of mankind, 
who provided a conflict of benign and malevolent 
treatment. He was superseded by the gods Senx 
and Alk'unta'm. 

So 

Weather god. Ewe and Hua [Tago and south- 
eastern Ghana, West Africa]. An emanation of 
the combined personae of the deities Sogblen 
and SODZA. 

Sobek (rager) 

God epitomizing the might of the pharaohs. 
Egyptian. Said to be the son of Neith, the cre- 
ator goddess of Sais. He is depicted as a crocodile 
wearing a plumed headdress, or as a part-human 
hybrid. The crocodile imagery suggests an ability 
to attack and kill with sudden speed. Sobek's cult 
was extensive along the Nile valley, but was par- 
ticularly prominent in the fertile Faiyum region. 
Near Aswan in Upper Egypt a sanctuary dedi- 



290 Sodasi 



cated to Sobek identifies him as die consort of 
Hathor and the father of Khonsu. Also Suchos 
(Greek). 

Sodasi (girl of sixteen ) 

Minor goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One 
of a group of Mahavidyas personifying the Sakti 
of Siva. Aspects include Divyaratri. 

Sodza 

Sky god. Ewe [Togo, West Africa]. Propitiated 
with yams and the sacrifice of a white sheep in an 
annual festival and his priests pray to him weekly 
to send rain. The priests wear white robes. 

Sogblen 

Messenger god. Ewe and Hua [Tago and south- 
eastern Ghana, West Africa]. Considered to 
relay the prayers of devotees to the great 
gods and to return with blessings or punish- 
ment. Generally benevolent, bringing the boon 
of fertile crops and children. He is propitiated 
with the sacrifice of a white sheep in an annual 
festival. 

Sogbo 

Storm god. Eon [Benin, West Africa]. The sibling 
of the gods Lisa and AlAWU, he controls thunder 
and lightning and is a god of fire and rain. 

Sohodo-No-Kami 

God of scarecrows. Shinto [fapan]. Identified as 
the apotheosis of the actual scarecrow made by 
Japanese farmers and known as a kakashi. Tradi- 
tionally it is constructed from reeds and wears a 
round peasant hat. According to the sacred texts, 



"though his legs do not walk he knows everj^thing 
under heaven." 

Sokar 

Chthonic underworld god. Egyptian. Guardian 
deity of the necropolis at Memphis with possible 
fertility connotations and with strong links to 
Osiris beside whom he is also perceived as a 
restored god of the dead. He is also syncretized 
with the Memphis creator god Ptah in the Old 
Kingdom (circa 4500 BC), where he may have 
originated as a god of various crafts associated 
with the manufacture of funerary trappings. He is 
depicted either as a hawk on a boat, or in human 
form with the head of a hawk and an elaborate atef 
crown (see Osiris). Sokar also enjoyed a major 
cult at Thebes where, in an annual festival cele- 
brating the healthy continuation of the divine 
kingship, he was conveyed in an elaborate barque. 
Also Sokaris (Greek). 

Soko 

Sky god. Nupe [Nigeria, West Africa]. The name 
refers specifically to the dark sky at the begin- 
ning of the rainy season which stimulates the 
growth of crops. 

Sol (1) 

Sun god. Roman. Known by the fuU tide of Sol 
Indiges, meaning "the indigenous Sol," which may 
suggest a purely Roman cult on the Quirinal Hill, 
but there are also inferences that this deity is of 
more ancient origin. Coins from southern Italy 
depicting the god with a radiate image date back 
to circa 200 BC but he rose to particular promi- 
nence during the repubHcan period. His festival 
was celebrated annually on August 9. Nero had a 
huge statue of himself, as Sol, erected in Rome 



SOPHIA 291 



and the emperor Aurelian elevated Sol to 
supreme god in the Roman pantheon when 
Jupiter Conservator gave way to Sol Invictus (the 
unconquered sun). Sol may sometimes be linked 
with Aurora, the goddess of dawn. 

Sol (2) 

Sun goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). One of the 
Aesir goddesses. The daughter of Nubdilfaeri 
(Mundilferi). She drives the horses which draw 
the sun chariot across the sky. 

Soma (essence) 

Minor god. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
The deification of the sacred yellow drink soma. 
Also the consort of Surya. Regarded in later Hin- 
duism as the dikpala of the northern direction and 
as one of a group of Vasu deities answering to the 
god Indra. Attributes: hook, lotus and prayer 
wheel. 
See also Candra. 

Somaskanda 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Aspect of 
the god SrvA. Of uncertain origin, but possibly 
representing a composite trio of Siva with 
his consort Uma (Parvati) and his son Skanda (as 
a boy). Eour- armed. Attributes of Siva: ax, corpse 
and hatchet. Attribute of Uma: lotus. Attributes 
of Skanda: book, headdress, mango fruit and 
ornament. 

Somnus 

Minor god of sleep. Roman. He equates with 
the Greek god Hypnos. According to legend 
he is one of the two sons of Nyx, goddess of 
night, and lives in a remote cave beside the 



Lethe river. He is depicted by Ovid dressed in 
black but with his robe scattered with stars, 
wearing a crown of poppies and holding a gob- 
let of opium juice. His attendant is MORPHEUS 
and he oversees the spirits of dreams and night- 
mares. Particularly noted from the art of the 
Lacedaemonians who placed statues of Somnus 
and Mors side by side. 

Somtus See Harsomtus. 

Sopedu 

Guardian deity. Egyptian. A god who protects the 
eastern border, usually depicted as a falcon or a 
Bedouin with a headdress of tall plumes. His cult 
was followed chiefly at Safe el-Henna in the Nile 
delta. Sopedu is linked in Pyramid Texts with the 
hawk god HORUS. He also acted as a patron deity 
of the turquoise mines in the Sinai with inscrip- 
tions at Serabit el-Khadim. Also Sopdu. 

SOPHIA (wisdom) 

ORIGIN Greek principle adopted by Gnostic 
Christians. Primordial female force in the 
cosmos. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP unknown origins 
to circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS PiSTIS SOPHIA. 

center(s) of cult undefined cells within the 

area of early Christian influence. 
ART references none. 

literary sources Plato and other Greek 
philosophers; Nag Hammadi codices. 

According to the Gnostic Christian writers whose 
thoughts were a syncretization of Jewish, ancient 
Near Eastern and Greek philosophical elements, 
Sophia descended from Pisns (faith) before the 



292 Sore-Gus 



formation of the cosmos. She is described as a like- 
ness of Pistis and seems to be the primeval ele- 
ment of light. She acts as a mediator or "veil" 
between the immortal beings (Archons) and 
mankind. She is also the challenger to the primor- 
dial "shadow" which becomes chaos. In the Nag 
Hammadi text On the Origin of the World, Pistis 
Sophia generates Yaldabaoth, the father or 
"prime parent" of the seven androgynous beings 
who rule the heavens in the likeness of the original 
authorities so that the hkeness may persist forever. 
See also Pistis and Yaldabaoth. 

Sore-Gus 

Sky god. Hottentot [Namibia, southern Africa]. 
The stm god, embodied in the shape of a golden 
ram with long fluffy wool. 

Sors 

God of luck. Roman. Derived from the Greek 
model of Tyche, he is less prominent in the pan- 
theon than the goddess FORTUNA. 

Sothis [Greek] 

Astral goddess. Egyptian. She heralds the Nile 
inundation as the personification of the star 
Sirius which rises coincidentally in the dawn 
sky in July. She is depicted as a nude figure wear- 
ing the conical white crown of Lower Egypt 
surmounted by a star. Late in Egyptian history 
she becomes largely syncretized with IsiS. Also 
Sopdet (Egyptian). 

Souconna 

River goddess. Romano-Celtic (GalHc). Guardian 
of the river Saone and known chiefly from 
inscriptions at Chalon. 



Souliii 

Vegetation god. Hua [southeastern Ghana, West 
Africa]. A benevolent deity who can bestow 
wealth as well as good harvests. He is also god 
of medicine and of the sounds of music. His 

devotees wear white and daub white chalk on 
their faces. His symbol is the cowrie shell. 

Spandaramet 

Chthonic goddess. Pre-Christian Armenian. 
Concerned with the fertility of the earth and with 
death. Under Christian influence, her name 
equates with heU. 

Spes 

Gioddess of hope. Roman. Foundations of a sanc- 
tuary were commenced by the emperor Tiberius, 
linked with a similar building dedicated to the 
god Janus. She is associated with gardens and 
depicted as a young woman bearing a bunch of 
flowers. 

Spiniensis 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Mentioned by 
the writer Fabius Pictor, he is the deity responsi- 
ble for the uprooting of thorn bushes. 

Sravana (lame cow) 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent naksatrA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). Also Srona. 

Sravistha 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 



Subhadra 293 



Sri(devi) prosperity) 

1. Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). An early 
name which was syncretized with that of Laksmi 
to form Sri-Laksmi. 

2. Goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a 

group of DharmaPx\LA with terrible appearance and 
royal attire who protect the Dalai Lama. A manifes- 
tation of the goddess Devi sometimes seen in com- 
pany with ViSNU, when conventionally she stands on 
his right. Her breasts are covered by a narrow band 
of cloth. She may be invoked to provide wealth (see 
also Laksmi). Her retinue includes the goddesses of 
the seasons and her animal is a mule. Color: blue. 
Attributes: chiefly cup and staff but on occasion sev- 
eral other objects including a pink lotus. Three-eyed 
and may be three-headed. Also LhaMo. 

3. Goddess. Jain. 

Srikantha (beautiful throat) 
Minor deity. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of a 
group of emancipated ViDYESVARAS (lords of 
knowledge) considered to be aspects of SiVA, in 
this instance referring to his darkish blue neck. 
Also one of the Ekadasarudras or eleven forms 
of RUDRA. Attributes: hatchet and trident. 

Srivasumukhi (excellent-faced) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Vasudhara. 

Srivasundhara (earth) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Vasudhara. 



Stanitakumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the deities grouped 
tmder the general title of bhvanavasi (dwelling in 
places). Of youthful appearance. 

Sterculius 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Concerned 
with the manuring of the fields. 

Stribog 

God of winds. Slav. Mentioned in the Chrojticle of 
Nestor, and the euphemism "Stribog's grandchil- 
dren" refers to the winds. 



Styx 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Greek. A daugh- 
ter of Okeanos and Tethys, and mother of 
Nike. The deity of the river Styx beside which the 
gods swear their oaths. 

Su 

Primordial god of the air. Egyptian. According to 
the genealogy of the priests of Heliopolis, he is 
the first born of the creator stm god Atum and by 
his sister Tefnut is the father of the chthonic 
god Geb and the sky goddess NUT. Su is typically 
represented in human form standing over the 
supine form of Geb and holding Nut aloft with 
his raised arms. He can also, as one of several 
manifestations of the "eye of Re," be represented 
as a Hon, as can his sister. 



Srividyadevi (of excellent knowledge) 
Minor goddess. Hindu. A deity of terrifying 
appearance. Attributes: necklace of bones, teeth. 



Subhadra (very splendid) 
Goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The daugh- 
ter of Vasudeva and sister of Krsna. She may 
appear standing beside JAGANNATH. 



294 Subhaga 



Subhaga 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Subhamekhala (with a marvellous girdle) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 

Subrahmanya 

Minor warrior deity. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). 

A form of Karttikeya which is depicted with 
six heads and twelve arms. Also Shadanana- 
SUBRAHMANYA; see also SkANDA. 

SUCELLOS (the good striker) 
ORIGIN Romano-Celtic (Gallic). 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 
until Christianization, circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS Sucellus. 

center(s) of cult various. 
ART REFERENCES bronze and stone sculpture and 
reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES votive inscriptions. 

Sucellos carries a long-handled hammer and a 
cup or dish which is arguably the equal of the 
Irish Celtic Dagda's caldron. He is known 
principally from the valleys of the Rhone and 
Saone and is often coupled in art and votive 
inscriptions with the river goddess Nanto- 
SUELTA. In at least two instances, Unterseebach 
[Lower Rhine] and Varhely [Romania], Sucellos is 
accompanied by a raven and a three-headed dog 
suggesting the Roman guardian of the under- 
world, Cerberus, and a link with funerary 
practices. Sucellos also has associations with 
the woodland god SiLVANUS, suggesting a 
fertility connotation and, in France, is associated 



both with springs and with dogs and snakes, 
which suggest healing and rejuvenating powers 
(dogs were more generally hnked with the Roman 
heahng god AESCULAPIUS than with death). 

Suddhodana (having pure rice) 
Primordial god. Buddhist. The fether of the Bud- 
dha. The deified king of the Sakya tribe from 
which the Buddha descended; his consort is 
Mayadevi. 

Sudrem 

Weather god. Kafir [Afghanistan]. Little is known 
of this deity. He was created from the breath of the 
supreme god Imra. Alternatively he sprang from a 
juniper branch. His wife is the goddess Nangi- 
Wutr and he is the father of the major fertiHty god- 
dess DiSANl. He is depicted as a great golden buck 
with horns reaching to the sky. As a deity specifi- 
cally concerned with rain, he Uves in a sacred lake, 
Sudrem Sur, at which all wild animals must drink 
once to survive. Also Sujum; Sudaram; Sataram. 

Sudurjaya (very difficult to conquer) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of sev- 
eral deified Bhumls recognized as different spir- 
itual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: yellow. Attributes: emerald and staff. 

Sugriva (beautiful strong neck) 
Monkey god. Hindu. The son of the sun god and 
leader of the monkey army which, according to 
epic tradition, supported Rama. 

Suijin 

Collective name for water gods. Shinto [Japan]. 
These deities are worshiped at shrines at the 



Sulinan(u) 295 



sources of irrigation canals, lakes and ponds. 
They are depicted as snakes, eels and fish and 
invoked particularly by women. Chief among 
them is the goddess MizU-Ha-No-Me. 

Sukarasya (face of a sow) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. 

Sukla-Tara 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Considered to 
be an emanation of all the Dhyanibuddhas 
(meditation buddhas), but also regarded as being 
indistinguishable from the "white Tara" (see also 
Tara). Color: white. 

Sukra (bright) 

Astral god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). The per- 
sonification of the planet Venus and the tutor of 
the demons. He may, on occasion, be represented 
as female, owing to the fact that he was once made 
to swallow his attendant Kaca and then restore 
him to hfe. Color: white. Rides in a golden or sil- 
ver chariot drawn by eight or ten horses. Attrib- 
utes: book, prayer wheel, purse, staff, treasure and 
waterjar. 

Suksma (very small) 

Minor deity. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of a 
group of emancipated ViDYESVARAS (lords of 
knowledge) considered to be aspects of SiVA. 
Attributes: hatchet and trident. 

Suku 

Creator god. Ovimbundu [central Angola, West 
Africa]. He created the sky, the rivers and moun- 
tains, and the people on earth. 



Sukuna-Hikona 

God of healing. Shinto [Japan]. With the god 
O-KuNi-NuSHi-No-MiKOTO, he estabhshed the 
various methods of healing diseases and the means 
for control of, and protection against, wild beasts, 
snakes, insects, etc. He is also worshiped as a tute- 
lary god of traders, both maritime and on land. He 
is the KAMI of communications and, during the 
Japanese Empire period, was often installed by the 
authorities in the temples and shrines of con- 
quered lands. He is worshiped in Buddhism as 
Yakushi-Bosatsu-Hyojin. 

Siileviae 

Goddesses of passage. Romano-Celtic (GalHc). 
Collective name for female deities associated with 
crossroads. 

Sulini 

Minor goddess. Hindu. Of terrible appearance. 
Animal: Hon. Attribute: trident. 

Sulis 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Romano-Celtic. 
Also a deity concerned with knowledge and 
prophecy. The tutelary goddess of the thermal 
waters at Bath, England, she is closely linked with 
the Roman goddess MiNERVA. 

SuUat 

Minor god. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). An attendant of the sun god Samas. 

Sulman(u) 

Chthonic and fertility deity. Mesopotamian 
(Babylonian-Akkadian) and western Semitic. Also 



296 Sulmanitu 



identified as a war god. Found in Assyria circa 
1400 BC to 700 BC and known fi-om Bronze Age 
inscriptions at Sidon. 

Sulmanitu 

Fertility goddess. Western Semitic. Concerned 
with love and war; also has underworld connec- 
tions. Recognized chiefly at Sidon, but included 
in the Ugaritic pantheon. Thought by some 
authors to be the immediate derivation of the bib- 
lical "Shulamite woman" (Pettis Testamentum Song 
of Solomon 6:13). 

Sul-pa-e (youthfiil radiance) 
Fertility and astral god. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). Identified as the personification of the planet 
Jupiter and, in one list, the consort of the mother 
goddess NiNHURSAGA. 

Siilsaga 

Astral goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). 
Sul-utula 

Tutelary god. Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Known 
only as a personal deity to Entemena, king of the 
city of Eninnu. 

Sumalini (well-garlanded) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of BUDDHAKAPALA. 



Sumbha 

Goddess. Buddhist. A female dikpala or guardian 
of the nadir direction (her male counterpart is 
Sumbharaja). Color: blue. Attribute: snake 
noose. 

Svimbharaja 

God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the nadir 
direction. Color: blue. Attributes: jewel, lotus, 
staff and sword. Three-headed. 

Sumiyoshi-No-Kami 

Sea gods. Shinto [Japan]. A general name for 
guardian deities of seafarers, including fishermen, 
they include the three Munakata-No-Kami. 
They are the focus of special worship by the 
Jingu-Kogo sect, whom they escorted to Korea. 
They are also patrons of poets and have a purify- 
ing role. The main sanctuary is the Sumiyoshi 
laisha at Osaka. 



Summamus 

Storm god. Etruscan. Specifically a deity respon- 
sible for lightning and thunderbolts. A sanctuary 
was dedicated to him in Rome. 

Sumugan 

God of the river plains. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). In creation mythology he is given charge by 
the god Enki over the flat alluvial lands of south- 
ern Mesopotamia. 



Sumati (very wise) 

Deification of literature. Buddhist. One of a 
group of Dharanis. Color: yellow. Attributes: ear 
of rice and staff. 



Sun Hou-Shi 

Monkey god. Chinese. He emerged from 
a cosmic egg conceived out of emptiness 
and engendered by the wind; he provides 



SURYA(l) 297 



various arts and skills to mankind. According 

to tradition he discovered the elixir of immor- 
tality in a fruit which he consumed. Also Sun 
Wu-Kong. 

Sundara (charming) 

1. Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). A prosperous 

aspect of the god SiVA. 

2 Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An 
attendant of Buddhakapala. 

Suparikiititanamasri (lord with a celebrated 
name) 

Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among a series of medicine buddhas 
or sMan-Bla. Typically depicted with stretched 
ear lobes. Color: yellow. 

Supamakumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 

general title of BHVANAVASI (dwelling in places). Of 
youthful appearance. 

Sura (wine) 

Goddess of wine. Hindu. She is considered to be 
of terrible appearance and has no consort. Three- 
eyed. 

Suraksini 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Buddhakapala. 

Surangama (bright colored) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). A BODfflSATTVA or 

buddha-designate. Color: white. Attribute: sword. 



Suresvara (lord of the gods) 
God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of the 
eleven Ekadasarudras or Rudra gods. Attrib- 
utes: arrow, ax, bell, bow, bowl, club, drum, hook, 
iron rod, lotus, prayer wheel and trident. 

Survamabhadravimalaratnaprabhasa 

(the bright, pure jewel splendor) 
Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted as one of a series of medicine buddhas 
or sMan-Bla. Typically depicted with stretched 
earlobes. Color: yellowish white. 

SURYA (1) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic) 

[India]. Sun god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1700 BC untU 

present. 

SYNONYMS Diakara (day-maker); Grahapati (king 

of planets); Surya Narayana. 
center(s) of cult the "Black Pagoda" shrine at 

Konorak in Orissa; also throughout India. 
art references sculptures from circa AD 600, 

including erotic reliefs at the "Black Pagoda," 

usually in bronze, less frequently in stone. 
LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda and other Vedic 

texts. Epic and Puranic texts. 

In the Vedas Surya is a prominent figure, not only 
the personification of the sun in the heavens and 
of cosmic order, but also a source of infinite 
knowledge. Considered to have been introduced 
from Iran, he is head of the Aditya group of sun 
deities. He is the son of Dyaus and Aditi and his 
consorts include Laksmi, Chaya and Sanjna. His 
children include Manu, Revanta, Yama and 
Yamuna, and a sun goddess also called Surya. 

Surya is depicted either standing or seated, 
sometimes driving a one-wheeled chariot drawn 



298 Surya(2) 



across the sky by up to seven horses. He bears 
four arms. In northern India he is usually found 
wearing knee-length boots. In the south he goes 
barefoot. Attributes: band, club, conch, knife, two 
lotuses, prayer wheel, staff with lion, trident and 
war drum. May be three-eyed. 

Suiya (2) 

Sun goddess. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
The daughter of the sun god SURYA. According 
to legend she was courted by all the gods, 
but won finally by the twin ASVIN gods with 
whom she rides in a chariot. Other legends 
account her consorts to include SOMA and 
PuSAN. She is the essence of the cosmos. Also 
Savitr. 



SUSANO-WO 

ORIGIN Shinto Japan]. Chthonic and 

weather god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 600 and 

probably earher until present. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF CULT throughout Japan. 
ART references sculptures and paintings. 
LITERARY SOURCES Nihongi and Kojiki texts. 

The brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu, he 
was born from the nose of the primordial creator 
god IZANAGi and represents the physical, mate- 
rial world. His consorts include the goddess 
Inada-Hime, by whom he fathered a son, Ya- 
Shima-Ji-Nu-Mi, the eight-island ruler, and the 
goddess Kamu-O-Ichi-Hime. His offspring by 
her include the great harvest god O-TosHl-No- 
Kami. 

The appearance of Susano-Wo and Amaterasu 
in the creation account marks the final separation 
of the ethereal cosmos into a vast multiplicity of 



material objects. The god and goddess are 
obliged to join each other in order to survive, 
but while Susano-Wo recognizes the necessity 
for this union, Amaterasu finds his excesses 
repugnant. When he tries to enter her house in 
the heavens she hides herself away in a cave from 
which she emerges only after considerable effort 
and ruse on the part of the other members of the 
pantheon. Susano-Wo is expelled from heaven 
and takes up residence on earth where he first has 
to beg food from the goddess O-Ge-Tsu-Hime- 
No-Kami. 
See also AMATERASU. 

Susinak 

Local god. Elamite [Iran]. The patron deity of 
Susa. 

Sutekh 

Weather god. Hittite and Hurrian. Of Hurrian 
origin, but incorporated into the Hittite state 

pantheon. Identified on the seal of a Hittite/ 
Egyptian treaty between Hattusilis II and Rame- 
ses II in 1271 BC. Probably another name for the 
god Tesub. 

Svadha (invoked with offerings) 
Minor goddess. Hindu. The daughter of Daksa 
and Prasuti. Sometimes identified as a consort of 
RUDRA or Agni. 

Svantevit 

God of war. Pre-Christian Latvian. Mentioned 
by the author Saxo Grammaticus as riding upon 
a white horse and holding a cornucopia, he is 
known locally from the island of Riigen. Also a 
guardian deity of crops. 



Syamatara 299 



Svaraghosaraja 

Physician god. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Accounted among a series of medicine buddhas 
or sMan-Bla. Typically depicted with stretched 
earlobes. Color: yellowish red. 

Svarozic 

Sun god. Slav. Also the giver of fire and the smith 
god, and further linked with marriage. Also Svarog. 

Svasthavesini (entering a natural state) 
Goddess. Hindu. One of terrifying appearance. 
Color: scarlet. Attribute: drum. Three-eyed and 
three-headed. 



Svati 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent naksatra; daughter 
of Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). Also 
Nistya. 

Syamatara (the "black Tara") 

Goddess. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. A gracious 

form of the goddess Tara. Also an emanation of 
Amoghasiddhi and a form of Avalokitesvara. 
Color: black, possibly green. Attribute: blue 
lotus. 



T 



Tabid 

Goddess of fire. Scythian. Also the guardian deity 
of all animals. The Romans syncretized her with 
the hearth goddess Vesta. 

Ta-Bitjet 

Scorpion goddess. Egyptian. In incantations against 
scorpion bite she is identified as a consort of the 
god HORUS. Her blood, which flowed when Horus 
ruptured her hymen, is considered to possess mag- 
ical and remedial properties against the poison. 

Taditkara (lightning) 

Goddess of Ught. Buddhist. Color: green. Attrib- 
utes: lightning in the form of a creeper. Also 
Vidyddhara. 

T'ai Shan 

God. Chinese. The senior deity in the heavenly 
ministries, he is the immediate controller of the 
earth and mankind. Titled the "god of the eastern 
peak." Also Di Zang. 

T'aiYi 

Primordial god. Chinese. The spirit of the 
universe who was present before the cosmos was 



created and who is known as the great unity. 
During the Sung Dynasty (AD 960-1279) he was 
elevated to the head of the ranks of astral gods 
and he is embodied in the Pole Star, otherwise 
identified in Chinese mythology as the Purple 
Planet. 

Tailtiu 

Goddess. Celtic (Irish). By tradition the consort 

of Eochaid of the TuATiiA DE Danann, she is 
the foster mother of the god LuG and associated 
with the Lughnasad festival on August 1 . 

Taipan 

Snake god. AustraUan aboriginal. His consorts 
include the snake goddesses Mantya, Tuknampa 
and Uka. He is revered mainly by tribal groups 
Uving on the western seaboard of the Cape York 
peninsula in northern Queensland. Taipan has 
the typical attributes of many other Australian 
snake gods, including the rainbow snake. He 
exercises judgment over life or death and pos- 
sesses great wisdom, a universal characteristic of 
serpents. He is able to kill or cure and is the deity 
who originally fashioned the blood of living 
things during the Dreamtime. The imagery of 
the snake god is closely linked with aboriginal 



300 



TamKung 301 



shamanism and with the healing rituals of 
shamans. 

Tai-Sui-Jing 

God of temporal time. Chinese. The apotheosis 
of the planet Jupiter which orbits the sun in a 
twelve-year cycle. 

Tajin 

Generic title for a group of rain gods. Totonac 
(Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Worshiped by a mod- 
ern tribe and beUeved to reside in the ruins of El 
Tajin, a classic Veracruz site whence they control 
the thimder clouds. 
See also Tlaloc. 

Taka-Mi-Musubi-No-Kami (high august 

producing wondrous deity) 
Primordial creator being. Shinto [Japan]. The 
second of the deities listed in the sacred Kojiki 
text. He appeared in the Takama-No-Hara (plain 
of high heaven) after Ame-No-Minaka-Nushi- 
No-KAxMI. a remote and vaguely defined being, 
he was-born alone in the cosmos and hides him- 
self from mankind. 

Taka-Okami-No-Kami (great producer of 

rain in the mountains) 
Rain god. Shinto [Japan]. Specifically the god of 
rain generated in mountains. A god of fierce rain, 
also known as the "god of the dividing of the 
waters." 

See also Kura-Oakmi-No-Kami. 

Take-Mika-Dzuchi-No-Kami 

God of thunder. Shinto [Japan]. One of the Rai- 
JIN gods of thunder, storms and rain, he is also 
one of the warrior deities who guarded Prince 



NiNlGl on his descent from heaven to earth. A 
tutelary god of swordsmen and judoka artists. 
See also Futsu-Nushi-No-Kami. 

Takkiraja 

God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the 
southeastern quarter. Color: blue. Attributes: blue 
staff, jewel, lotus staff, sword and trident. Also 
Vajrajvalanalarka and Vajrayaksa. 

Takotsi Nakawe (our grandmother growth) 
Chthonic vegetation goddess. Huichol Indian 
(Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The earth and all plant 
life belong to her and she is regarded as the mother 
of the gods, particularly of the fire god Tatevali. 
She is very old and is invoked to give the boon of 
longevity. Her sacred tree is a form of fig, the salate. 

Taksaka 

Snake god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). One of a 
group of seven Mahanagas. Attributes: rosary, 
swastika and waterjar. 

Ta'lab 

Moon god. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. He 
also has an oracular function. 

Tam Kung 

Local sea god. Chinese. A deity with control over 
rain and water and who extinguishes fires. His 
worship is restricted to a coastal region between 
Hong Kong and Macau. According to tradition 
he was an eight-year-old boy emperor, the last of 
the Sung Dynasty, who committed suicide by 
jumping over a cliff in the face of Kublai Khan's 
advance in AD 1276. His attendant is Ho Wang, 
who joined him in death. A sanctuary in Coloane 



302 Tama-No-Ya 



Town in Macau, sited at the end of a narrow 
peninsula, is dedicated to him. 

Tam Kung is strongly hnked with the symbol- 
ism of dragons and the shrine contains a sacred 
whale rib which is modeled into the shape of a 
dragon boat. The god is normally depicted seated 
and holding a bell, which may be interpreted as an 
instrument of warning or as a means of calHng 
attention to the voices of the ancestors. 

Tama-No-Ya 

God of jewelers. Shinto [Japan]. The deity who 
made a complete string of curved jewels nearly 
three meters long, one of the lures which enticed 
the sun goddess Amaterasu from the cave where 
she hid herself 

Tamats Palike Tamoyeke (our eldest 

brother walking everywhere). 
God of wind and air. Huichol Indian (Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. The messenger of the gods, he 
also put the world into its present form and shape. 

Tanara 

Sky spirit. Yakut [central Siberia]. The apotheo- 
sis of the sky. 

Tana'ao 

Weather and sea god. Polynesian [Marquesas 
Islands]. A local variation on the Polynesian god 
Tangaroa, known as a god of winds and a tute- 
lary deity of fishermen. 

Tane(mahuta) 

God of light. Polynesian (including Maori). One 
of the children of the prime parents Ranginui 
and Papatuanuku. Also god of trees, forests and 



boat-builders, his consort is the goddess HlNE- 
Ahu-One and he is the father of Hine-Ata-Uira 
who descended to the underworld to become the 
goddess of death, Hine-Nui-Te-Po. In other 
traditions he is the consort of Hine-Nui-Te-Po, 
whom he joins each evening when he descends to 
the underworld. It was he who proposed that his 
parents should be pushed apart rather than 
slaughtered. In Maori culture Tanemahuta, like 
all deities, is represented only by inconspicuous, 
slightly worked stones or pieces of wood and not 
by the large totems, which are depictions of 
ancestors. Also KANE (Hawaiian). 

Tangaroa 

Sea and creator god. Polynesian (including Maori). 
The deity responsible for the oceans (moana) and 
the fish {ika) within them. In Hawaiian belief 
he was the primordial being who took the form 
of a bird and laid an egg on the surface of the 
primeval waters which, when it broke, formed the 
earth and sky. He then engendered the god of Ught, 
Atea (cf Tane). According to Tahitian legend, he 
fashioned the world inside a gigantic mussel shell. 

In a separate tradition Tangaroa went fishing 
and hauled the Tbngan group of islands from the 
depths of the ocean on a hook and line. He is the 
progenitor of mankind (as distinct from 
Tumatauenga who has authority over mankind). 

His son Pili married SiNA, the tropic bird and 
they produced five children from whom the rest 
of the Polynesian race was born. In Maori culture 
Tangaroa, Hke all deities, is represented only by 
inconspicuous, slightly worked stones or pieces of 
wood and not by the large totems which are 
depictions of ancestors. 

Tango 

God. Polynesian [Hervey Islamds] The third 
child of the primordial mother Vari-Ma-Te- 



Tara 303 



Takere, he was plucked from her right side and 
lived in Enua-Kura, the land of the red parrot 
feather immediately below the home of TiNlRAU 
in the world coconut. 

Ta'ngwanla'na (greatest one in the sea) 
Supreme sea god. Haida Indian [Queen Char- 
lotte Island, Canada]. His home is said to be in 
the deeps. 

Tank 

Moon goddess. Phoenician and Pontic (Carthagin- 
ian). Known largely from inscriptions at various 
sites along the North African coast and linked with 
the goddess Astarte. Her symbol is a triangular 
device with horizontal bars supporting a moon disc. 
Both deities are described as "ladies of the sanctu- 
ary." Tanit was the supreme goddess at Carthage, 
known as the "fece of Baal," until usurped by the 
Roman goddess JUNO; she survived under the name 
G^ELESTis. The goddess Ceres was also worshiped 
in the Tante temple at Carthage. Also Tenit. 

Ta-No-Kami 

Agricultural deity. Shinto Japan] . A generic name 
for several gods of crops and harvests. May also be 
identified as a mountain KAMI. 

Tanu'ta 

Earth spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. A 
guardian of the earth and its plants and animals, 
Tanu'ta is the consort of Yine'ane'ut (in other 
legends she is married to the son of the supreme 
being Ta'yan). 

T'ao Hua Hsiennui (peach blossom girl) 
Goddess. Chinese. The spirit of the peach blos- 
som and the deity of the second spring month. 



She is primarily a guardian deity who defends 
against evil. A figure of the goddess was tradi- 
tionally brought by a mother for the protection of 
a bride and she is closely connected with mar- 
riage, which involves potential danger for the 
family with the introduction of an tmknown ele- 
ment. The wedding ceremony includes a ritual- 
ized kidnapping of the bride. The figure is also 
placed in a doorway to ward off evil. 

T'ao Hua Hsiennui is depicted in warlike pos- 
ture wearing a skirt with four black flags, each 
representing an army and bearing the character 
for wealth. She holds a sword by its scabbard end. 
One of her cult centers, the Temple of Jade Vacu- 
ity in Cheung Chan, holds a celebrated statue in 
which she is depicted holding the scabbard only. 

Taold-Ho-Oi-No-Kami 

God of carpenters. Shinto [Japan]. One of the 
gods who built the beautiful sacred hall designed, 
in part, to lure the sun goddess Amaterasu from 
the cave in which she hid herself. 
See also Hiko-Sashiri-No-Kami. 

Tapio 

Htmting god. Pre-Christian Finnish. Believed to 
inhabit forests and invoked before a hunt. 

Tar 

Chthonic earth god. Tiv [Nigeria, West Africa]. 
Engendered by the creator god Aondo, Tar is 
depicted as a prostrate figure with his head toward 
the east, comparable with the Egyptian god Geb. 

Tara (power of hunger) 
1. Goddess. Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic). 
May originally have had astral connotations, since 
the word can be interpreted as "star." One of a 



304 Taranis 



group of Mahavidyas personifying the Sakti of 
Siva. She may also be the consort of Candra 
(Soma). Aspects include Krodharatri. Attributes: 
knife, skin, skull, snakes and sword. Three-eyed. 

2. Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana and 
Vajrayana). An epithet of the mother of the Bud- 
dha, Maya. Also one of a series of female deities, 
the DHYANIBUDDHASAKn considered to be aspects 
of the Sakti of Avalokitesvara or of Amo- 
GASHIDDHI. She may also be the Sakti of Adibid- 
DHA and of the various Dhyanibuddhas, in which 
case she is characterized by their colors. These 
laras thus become "White Tara" and so on. 

See also Bhrkuti, Ekajata, Kurukulla, 
SiTATARA and Syamatara. In Tibetan Buddhism 
she is known as sGrol-ma. 

Taranis 

Thunder god. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). Known 
only from Umited inscriptions, but may emulate 
the Germanic god DONAR and is possibly the 
same as Taranucos. The Romans equated him 
with Jupiter and a Jupiter Tanams inscription at 
Chester in England may refer to Taranis. His 
symbol is a spoked wheel and he is presumed to 
be the object of savage rites. The modern Breton 
word for thunder is taran. Also Taranos. 

Tarhunt 

Weather god. Hurrian (Anatolian). Known from 
inscriptions as the father of Telepinu. 

Tari Pennu 

Chthonic goddess. Indian (Khond). Created by 
the sky gods BooRA Pennu and Bella Pennu 
so as to conceive the rest of the pantheon. She 
is identified as a malevolent deity, the subject of 
regular propitiation human sacrifices in the 
notorious meriah rituals in Orissa province. 



Taru 

Weather god. Hittite and Hurrian. Known 
from inscriptions and equating with Iskur. 
Probably of Hurrian origin. 
See also Tarhunt, Telepinu. 

Tarvos Trigaranos 

Bull god. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). Known 
chiefly from a four-sided monument erected 
near Paris by boatmen of the Seine during the 
reign of the emperor Tiberius. It depicts Esus, 
Vulcanus, Jupiter and Tarvos. As Tarvos Tri- 
garanos, he is drawn as a bull with three cranes 
on its back and can be seen at such places as 
Dorchester in England. The bull may alterna- 
tively bear three horns. 

Tasenetnofret 

Goddess. Egyptian. The consort of HORUS as 
Haroeris and regarded as a minor emanation of 
the goddess Hathor. Known from the sanctuary 
of Kom-Ombo. 

Tasmetu(m) 

Goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). 
The consort of the god Nabu. 

Tasmisu 

Attendant god. Hittite and Hurrian. The sibling 
of the weather god Tesub. 

Tate 

Creator god. Sioux [USA]. He appears in the 
clouds, his voice is the wind and he controls the 
changing of the seasons. He is also the guide of 
the spirits of the dead. He is the deity with whom 
the Sioux shamans intercede. 



Tatosi 305 



Tate Hautse Kupuri (mother north water). 
Rain and water goddess. Huichol Indian 
(Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Similar to Tate 
Kyewimoka, but also responsible for mists 
and fogs. 

Tate Kyewimoka (mother west water) 
Rain and water goddess. Huichol Indian 

(Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Appears in lightning 
and is said to resemble a red snake. She Hves in a 
deep gorge with caves, in Santa Catarina, and 
brings the rain from the west. Her animals 
include deer and ravens and she is also the god- 
dess of the corn. 



Tate Naaliwahi (mother east water) 
Rain and water goddess. Huichol Indian 
(Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. Appears in lightning 
and brings rain from the east. She lives in a deep 
gorge with caves, in Santa Catarina. 

Tate Oteganaka (mother corn) 

Corn goddess. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. The mother of the sun god Tayau. 

Tate Rapawiyema (mother south water) 
Rain and water goddess. Huichol Indian (Meso- 
american) [Mexico] . Similar to Tate Kyewimoka, 
but also the patron goddess of Laguna de Mag- 
dalena, where she is beheved to take the form of 
a water lizard. 



Tate Velika Vitnali 

Sun goddess. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Perceived as a young girl or as a royal 
eagle who holds the world in her talons and 



guards it. In human form the night sky with its 
stars are her dress. 

Tatenen (exalted earth) 

Chthonic god. Egyptian. Originates as a vegetation 
god from Memphis, the apotheosis of the Nile silt 
which appears after the invindation has subsided. 
As a vegetation god, he is depicted anthropomor- 
phically with green face and limbs and wearing a 
crown with plumes subtended by ram's horns. By 
the time of the Old Kingdom (twenty-seventh to 
twenty-second centuries BC) he is recognized as an 
emanation of the god Ptah, involved in the cre- 
ation process and mentioned on the Shabaka Stone 
(Memphis), where he is described as "father of the 
gods" and is perceived as an androgynous being. 
He also protects the royal dead. 

Tatevali (our grandfather) 

God of fire. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. Also a deity of Ufe and health, perceived 

as a shaman who prophesies and cures disease. He 
is the tutelary god of shamans and is said to have 
built the first Huichol temple with the god 
Tatosi. His animals include the macaw, royal 
eagle, cardinal bird, puma and opossum. 

Tathatavasita (control of the such-ness) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group of 
Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spiritual 
regeneration. Color: white. Attribute: white lotus. 

Tatosi (great grandfather deer tail) 
God of fire. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A deity regarded as the son of Tatevali, 
having been created from the plumes of his fether, 
but also the chief god of deer. His sacred animal 
is the white-tailed hawk. Also Mara Kwari. 



306 Tatqa'hicnin 



Tatqa'hicaiin (root man) 
Vegetation spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
A vaguely defined being who is chthonic and lives 
under the ground, presumably controlling edible 
roots and their availability. 

Taumata-Atua 

Vegetation god. Polynesian (including Maori). 
He presides over the fields and may be the 
god Rongomatane under an alternative name. In 
Maori culture Taumata-Atua, like all deities, is 
represented only by inconspicuous, slightly 
worked stones or pieces of wood and not by the 
large totems, which are depictions of ancestors. 

Tawa 

Creator god. Pueblo Indian [USA] . The apothe- 
osis of the sun and father of the tribe. 

TAWERET (the great one) 

ORIGIN Egj^tian. Goddess of childbirth. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP probably circa 2 500 

BC until the end of Egj^tian history circa AD 

400. 

SYNONYMS Thoueris (Greek). 

center(s) OF CULT no obvious cult centers, but 

represented in the Karnak complex at Thebes. 
ART references a favorite subject for amulets 

and perforated vases. 
literary solirces generally in texts including 

magical spells. 

Taweret is a goddess who enjoyed popularity 
among rank-and-file Egyptians and whose pro- 
tection was sought particularly by women in 
pregnancy. She is depicted either in human form 
or as a hybrid with the head of a hippopotamus, 
human breasts and swollen belly, leonine Umbs 
and a crocodile tail. This unusual aspect is 



intended to frighten off malignant forces before 
and during childbirth. Taweret often holds the 
SA symbol of protection clasped over her vulva. 
TaUsmanic vases are fashioned in the shape of the 
goddess, with holes at the nipples through which 
milk could be poured during rites. 

Her benign nature contrasts with that of Seth, 
often depicted as a male hippopotamus, an animal 
whose destructive behavior in the river and adja- 
cent fields was well known. 

Tawhaki 

Heroic god. Polynesian and Maori. A descendant 
of the creator god Rehua and grandson of Whati- 
tiri, the goddess of thunder, Tawhaki is the third 
child of Hema and Urutonga. He is the younger 
sibHng of the goddess Pupu-mai-nono and the 
god Karihi. In some Polynesian traditions 
Tawhaki is thought of as a mortal ancestor whose 
consort was the goddess Tangotango on whom he 
fathered a daughter, Arahuta. Tawhaki's fether 
was killed during tribal warfare with a mythical 
clan known as the Ponaturi and he himself was 
the subject of jealous rivalry concerning the god- 
dess Hine-Piripiri. During this time attempts 
were made to kill him. He fathered children by 
Hine-Piripiri, including Wahieroa, who is gener- 
ally perceived as being embodied in comets. 

Tawhirimatea 

God of winds. Polynesian (including Maori). One 
of the children of the prime parents Ranginui and 
Papatuanuku. He was uniquely opposed to the 
separation of his mother and father, sky and earth, 
at the time of the creation of the cosmos, and in 
consequence spends his time harassing and trou- 
bling mankind. In Maori cultare Papataanuku, like 
all deities, is represented only by inconspicuous, 
sUghtly worked stones or pieces of wood and not by 
the large totems, which are depictions of ancestors. 



TecciztecatI 307 



Ta'xet 

God of death. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte 
Island, Canada] . The deity responsible for those 
who die violently. 
See also TiA. 

Ta'yan 

Supreme being. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
An indefinite character Hving somewhere in the 
zenith and generally out of touch vnth ordinary 
mortals. His consort is Supervisor Woman, Lap- 
na'ut and his son is Cloud Man, Ya'halan. He 
conducts business with the physical earth through 
his majordomo Big Raven, Quikinna'qu. 
See also Tenanto'mwan. 

Tayau (father sun) 

Sun god. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. According to tradition, he was created by 
the ancient shamans, who threw the youthful son 
of the corn mother Tate Oteganaka into an 
oven in full ceremonial attire. He traveled under- 
ground and emerged in the east as the sun. In 
late May, the Huichol sacrifice a sheep and a 
turkey in a ritual fire, after which they sing all 
night until sunrise. Also Tau; Taverik. 

Tayau Sakaimoka 

Sun god. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. The deity of the setting sun in the west, 
regarded as the assistant of Tayau. 

Te-Aka-la-Roe (root of all existence) 
Creator being. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. Per- 
ceived in the form of a giant worm, this being is 
one of three spirits which govern and ensure the 
permanence of the universe. He lives in the low- 
est part of the root of the coconut shell which 
represents the world. 



Te-Manava-Roa (long-lived) 
Creator being. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. Per- 
ceived in the form of a giant worm, this being is 
one of three spirits which govern and ensure the 
permanence of the universe. He lives in the high- 
est part of the root of the coconut shell which 
represents the world. 

Te Kore (the void) 

Primordial being. Polynesian (including Maori). 
The personification of the darkness of chaos 
before light came into being. Usually coupled 
with Te Po, the unknown night. 

TePo 

Primordial being. Polynesian (including Maori). 
The personification of the night which existed in 
chaos before the creation of Ught. Usually cou- 
pled with Te Kore, the void. 

Te-Tanga-Engae (breathing) 
Creator being. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. Per- 
ceived in the form of a giant worm, this being is 
one of three spirits which govern and ensure the 
permanence of the tmiverse. He lives in the mid- 
dle part of the root of the coconut shell which 
represents the world. 

TecciztecatI (conch shell lord) 
Moon god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. In cosmogony, when on the fifth day of cre- 
ation the gods sat in judgment to elect the new 
sun god, Nanahuatl and TecciztecatI cremated 
themselves in the sacred fire. The heart of 
Nanahuatl ascended to become the new sun and 
that of TecciztecatI became the moon. Tradition 
suggests that Nanahuatl is diseased and impover- 
ished but of great courage, while TecciztecatI is 



308 Tefhut 



wealthy and a coward. Alternatively, the pair are 
sons of QuETZALCOATL and of Tlaloc; and were 
hurled into the fire by their fathers. Also one of 
the group classed as the Tezcatlipoca complex. 

NOTE: eventually all the gods sacrificed them- 
selves for mankind. 

Tefhut 

Primordial goddess of moisture. Egyptian. 
According to the genealogy laid down by the 
priests of HeUopolis, Tefiiut was created out of 
the breath or spit of the creator stm god Atum. 
She is the sister of Su, god of the air, and the 
mother of Geb and Nut. Her main cult sanctu- 
ary was atHehopoHs. Tefnut, Hke Su, can become 
one of several manifestations of the "eye of Re" in 
which case she appears as a lion, or in human 
form but with a leonine head. According to the 
Pyramid Texts, she creates pure water from her 
vagina. In a different context she takes the form of 
a snake encircling a scepter. 

Tegid Foel 

Water goddess. Celtic (Welsh). One of a pair with 
Ceridwen, identified by the poet TaUesin. 

Teharon(hiawagon) (he who holds heaven 

in his hands) 
Creator god. Mohawk Indian [USA and Canada] . 
He engendered the world and all living things 
and is invoked hy shamans to provide good health 
and prosperity. His adversary is the demonic fig- 
ure Tawiskaron, symbolizing darkness. 

Teicauhtzin (younger brother) 
Minor god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A patron god of Mexico and one of the 
group classed as the HurrziLPOCHTLi complex. 



Teisbas 

Tutelary god. Urartian [Armenia]. Known from 
inscriptions. 

Tejosnisa (sharp) 

God. Buddhist. Apparently connected with the 
guardian deities or dikpalas in the southeastern 
quarter. Color: whitish red. Attribute: sun disc. 

TELEPINU 

ORIGIN Hittite and Hurrian (Anatolia) [Turkey]. 

Vegetation and fertility god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF woRSfflP circa 1800 BC or 

earlier \mtil 11 00 EC or later. 
SYNONYMS Teliptma. 

center(s) of cult associated with at least four 
cities in the Tiirus region, including Nerik, but 
also known down into the Syrian plain. 

ART references seals and seal impressions; 
sculptures; monumental rock carvings. 

literary sources texts from Boghazkoy, etc. 

Telepinu is a fertility god, the son of TeSub or, 
in alternative tradition, Taru, who brings thun- 
der, lightning and rain. He may be of Hurrian 
origin. He goes missing and is rediscovered to 
symbolize the annual demise and restoration of 
nature. 

The story of his disappearance is told in several 
differing narratives, and his role is sometimes 
taken by the weather god Tesub. Essentially the 
legend describes how Telepinu departs from the 
Hittite kingdom in a rage with boots on the 
wrong feet. The sun god gives a feast for the 
thousand gods of Hatti, but is unable to feed all 
the guests because there is not enough food in 
the land. Eirst an eagle, then Tesub himself, go 
out to search. Einally the goddess Hannahannas 
sends a bee which finds and stings the sleeping 
Telepinu, provoking still further rage in nature 



Terra Mater 309 



(the Finnish legend of the hero Lemminkainen 

tells a comparable story). Telepinu eventually 
returns home, calmed, and nature returns to 
prosperity. 

The god may have received a form of tree wor- 
ship in which a hollow trunk was filled with har- 
vest offerings. 

Teliko 

God of hot winds. Bambara [MaH, West Africa]. 
According to tradition the water god Faro chal- 
lenged him in a primordial struggle and smashed 
him against a mountain. 

Teljavelik 

Creator god. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. He 
engendered the sun god Saule and is described as 
the heavenly smith. 

Tellus 

Chthonic primordial earth mother. Roman. A 
corn deity, generally regarded as benevolent, but 
also a goddess of the dead. Enemy armies were 
offered to her and cursed in her name. Both she 
and the corn goddess Ceres were propitiated 
with human sacrifice. Also Terra Mater. 

Telpochtli (male youth) 
Omnipotent god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A universal and generally malevolent 
power. One of the group classed as the Tez- 
CATLIPOCA complex. 

Tenanto'mni 

Creator spirit. Chukchee (eastern Siberia]. An 
indefinite and remote character Uving somewhere 
in the zenith of the sky. He created the world 



which was then transformed into its present state 
by the raven-Uke majordomo Ku'URKIL. 

Tenanto'mwan 

Creator spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
Identified particularly with the reindeer-hunting 
Koryak on the Taigonos peninsula. An indefinite 
and remote character living somewhere in the 
zenith of the sky. He created the world which was 
then transformed into its present state by 
Quikinna'qu. Tenanto'mwan is the name always 
used when addressing the creator in incantations. 
See also Ya'qhicnin. 

TepeyoUotl (hill heart) 
Minor chthonic or earth god. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the Tezcatlipoca complex. He was 
originally an earthquake god, symbolized by the 
jaguar and later adopted into the Aztec pantheon. 

Tepoztecatl 

Minor fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. One of the group classed as the 
Ometochtli complex concerned with the maguey 
plant and the brewing of the alcoholic drink 
pulque. 

Terminus 

God of passage. Roman. Embodied in boundary 
marker stones. He was celebrated in the Termi- 
nalia festival on February 23. 

Terra Mater 

Chthonic primordial earth mother. Roman. 
Derived from Greek model. 
See also Tellus. 



31 0 TESUB 



TESUB 

ORIGIN Hittite and Hurrian (Anatolia) [Turkey]. 

Weather god. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1800 BC or 

earlier until circa 1 100 BC or later. 
SYNONYMS Tesup and possibly Sutekh. 
center(s) of cult Hattusas (Boghazkoy); 

Arinna; many other sanctuaries in the Taurus 

region and northern Syrian plain. 
ART references seals and seal impressions; 

sculpture; rock carving. 
LITERARY SOURCES cuneiform and hieroglyphic 

texts from Boghazkoy and elsewhere. 

Tesub is the most important deity in Hittite state 
religion, although he may be subservient to the 
Sxm God(dess) of Arinna. Principally a weather 
god, as befits a mountainous region experiencing 
frequent storms and otherwise changeable cU- 
mate. Also a god of battle and "king of heaven, 
lord of the land of Hatti." His consort is generally 
identified as Hebat. According to legend, Tesub 
is involved in a typical confrontation battle with 
the forces of disorder in the form of a dragon, 
Illuyankas. He defeats the dragon, thus symbol- 
izing the re-invigoration of the earth after winter 
and the triumph of life over death. The drama 
seems to have been enacted in a New Year spring 
festival of Purulliyas. 

The king of the Hittite kingdom was lesub's 
high priest. A fragmented document describes a 
ritual in which the statue of the god is taken, in 
company with temple prostitates, to a Tarnu (cul- 
tic or bath) house in a sacred grove where various 
rites are performed over it. Tesub sometimes 
plays the role of the missing vegetation god (see 
Telepinu). Sculptures at Malatya identify ram 
sacrifices. Tesub is depicted holding a bow and 
standing on a horned animal or in a chariot drawn 
by bulls. 

Tesub was imported into Greece during the 
Mycenaean period (circa 1500-1200 BC). Bronze 



statuettes of the god have been discovered at 
Mycenae, Tiryns, Phylakopi and Delos. 

Teteo Innati Teteo (gods their mother) 
Minor god of fire. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A paternalistic deity associated with 
fire. One of the group classed as the XlUHTE- 
CUHTLI complex. 

Teteoiiman 

Goddess of curers and medical diviners. Aztec 
(classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. The head of 
the group classed as the Teteoinnan complex. 

Teteoinnan-Toci 

Goddess of midwives. Aztec (classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. Known locally in the Valley 
of Mexico and invoked by women in childbirth. 
One of the group classed as the TETEOINNAN 
complex. 

Tethys 

Sea goddess. Greek. One of the Titans, the 
daughter of OuRANOS and Gaia and both the 
sister and the consort of Okeanos. 

Tetzahauteotl (god of fearful omen) 
Minor god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. A patron god of Mexico and 
one of the group classed as the HUITZILPOCHTLI 
complex. 

Tetzahuitl (fearful omen) 
Minor god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. A patron god of Mexico and one of the 
group classed as the HurrziLPOCHTLl complex. 



TEZCATLIPOCA 3 1 I 



Teuhcad (he ofTeutlan) 
Local god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. Also a hunting god and one of the 
group classed as the Mixcoatl complex. 

Teutates 

Local tribal deity. Romano-Celtic (Gallic). 
Known only from limited inscriptions. Teutates 
may be less the name of a deity than an epithet 
meaning "great." According to the Roman writer 
Lucan, he is one of three Celtic gods encoun- 
tered by Caesar's army in Gaul and the object of 
savage rites in which victims were drowned in 
sacrificial lakes. He may equate with a British god, 
TDtatis. He becomes assimilated variously to 
Mercury or Mars. Also Teutatis. 

Tewi'xilak 

God of goat-hunters. Dza'wadeenox Indian 
[British Columbia, Canada]. The eldest son 
of the supreme god Qa'wadiliqala. Said to 
kill goats with great ease and feed the tribe. 
Attributes include a head band of red cedar 
bark. 

Tezcacoac Ayopechtli (mirror serpent 

tortoise bench) 
Birth goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. An aspect of Xochiquetzal. One of 
the group classed as the TeteoinNAN complex. 

TEZCATLIPOCA (smoking mirror) 
ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 
Sun god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 750 to 

AD 1500, but probably much earlier. 
SYNONYMS Moyocoya. 
center(s) of cult none. 



ART REFERENCES stone sculptures; murals; codex 

illustrations. 
LITERARY SOURCES pre-Columbian codices. 

According to creation mythology, the great 

mother in the thirteenth heaven became preg- 
nant and the 400 star gods who were jealous of 
her child plotted to destroy it at birth. They were 
restrained in a cavern, however, until the moment 
when Tezcatlipoca emerged, fully armed, from 
his mother and destroyed his enemies. His only 
ally was his sister COYOLXAUHQUI, who was lost 
in the battle and whose head the god hurled into 
the heavens to hve there as the moon. Alternative 
tradition describes lezcatUpoca as the product of 
the self-created primordial beings TONACATE- 
CUHTLI and TONACACIHUATL. 

He presides over the first of the five world ages 
personified by the sun 4 OCELOTL. He is also the 
ruler of the tenth of the thirteen heavens known 
at the time of the Spanish conquest, Teotl Iztacan 
(the place of the white god). 

Tezcatlipoca and QuETZALCOATL are, in some 
contexts, antagonists, but alternatively they work 
together to restore the shattered universe and 
initiate the fifth (present) sun. Tezcatlipoca 
transformed himself into an avatara Mkcoatl- 
Camaxtli, the "red Tezcatlipoca" (also said to 
be his son), to create fire. He is also the great 
magician who dragged the earth mother from 
the primordial waters in the form of a huge 
alligator, Cipactli. In the struggle she bit off 
his left foot, but to prevent her from sinking 
back into the waters of creation he tore out her 
lower jaw. 

Tezcathpoca is the patron deity of young war- 
riors and is capable of excesses of cruelty. A sac- 
rificial victim was chosen aimually and killed by 
having his heart torn out. 

The god is perceived in various aspects and col- 
ors, according to the position of the sun. In the 
east he is yellow or white, in the south blue (see 



312 Tezcatlipoca-Itzdacoliuhqui 



also HurrziLPOCHTLl), in the west red and in the 
north black. 

Tezcadipoca-Itzdacoliuhqui 

Temple deity. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of four described in the codices 
Borgia, Cospi and Fejervary-Mayer. 

See also TONATIUH, Centeocihuatl and 
MiCTLANTECUHTLI. 

Tezcatzoncatl 

Minor fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the Ome- 
tochdi complex concerned with the maguey plant 
and the brewing of the alcohoHc drink pulque. 

Thab-Iha 

Hearth god. Bon (pre-Lamaist) [Tibet]. Color: 
red. Attribute: a snake in the form of a noose. 

Thakur Deo 

Local god. Hindu. Known from various villages 
in northern India. His consort is Dharti Mata. 
May appear with a white horse. Also Thakkur. 

Thalna 

Goddess of childbirth. Etruscan. Depicted as a 
youthful woman, often associated with the sky 
god Tin. 

Thanatos 

Minor god of death. Greek. According to legend, 
he is one of the two sons of Nyx, the goddess of 
night, and Uves in a remote cave beside the river 
Lethe which he shares with his twin brother 
Hypnos, god of sleep. 



Thatmanitu 

Local goddess of healing. Western Semitic. Rec- 
ognized chiefly at Sidon, but also included in the 
Ugaritic pantheon. 

Thea 

Cjoddess. Greek. One of the Titans, consort of 
Hyperion and mother of the sun god Helios 
and of the goddesses Eos (dawn) and Selene 
(moon). Also Theia. 

Theandros 

God. Pre-Islamic northern Arabian. Known only 
from Greek and Roman inscriptions. 

Themis 

Goddess of justice and order. Greco-Roman. A 
daughter of the sky god OURANOS and earth 
mother Gaia, though not classed as one of the 
Titans. A consort of Zeus and the mother of 
the Horae and Moires. She is the impartial deity 
who sits blindfolded in Hades and judges the 
souls of the dead to determine whether they will 
pass to the Elysian fields or to the fires of Tar- 
tarus. Attended by three lesser judgment 
deities, Aeacx)s, Minos and Rhadmianthos. 
The guilty are handed over to the Furies — the 
Dirae, Erinyes or Eumenides. At Rhamnus in 
Attica, Themis was accorded a sanctuary built 
in the sixth century BC beside which that of 
Nemesis, goddess of indignation, was built in the 
fifth century. 



Thesan 

Goddess of the dawn. Etruscan. Also invoked at 
childbirth, since she brings new life into the world 
each day with her Ught. 



THOTH 313 



Thetis 

Goddess of rivers and oceans. Greek. One of the 
daughters of Nereus, Thetis takes responsibility, 
with Okeanos, for the oceans and rivers. She is 
among the lesser known deities; according to 
mythology she is a mermaid, but she is particu- 
larly significant as the mother of Achilles by an 
unnamed mortal. According to legend she 
attempted to render him immortal by immersing 
him in the waters of the Styx. She failed because 
the heel by which she held him had remained dry. 
His education she entrusted to the centaur Chi- 
ron. She was surrounded by attendant sea crea- 
tures known as Nereids and after Achilles's death 
she returned to the ocean depths. 

THOR (thunder god) 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). Primarily god of war 

but also a deity of the sky, storms, sea journeys 

and the administration of justice. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period circa 

AD 700 and earUer, until well into the Christian 

era, probably until AD 11 00 or later. 
SYNONYMS HORAGALLES (Lappish); Thunor 

(Anglo-Saxon). 
center(s) of cult Uppsala (Sweden); Dublin 

(Ireland); many others throughout the Nordic 

region. 

ART REFERENCES small sculptures and reliefs; 
probably the subject of other anonymous 
carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose 
Edda (Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); votive 
inscriptions; place names. 

Thor is one of the more important Aesir sky gods 
in Norse religion, the chief defender of the realms 
of Asgard. His mother is said to be lord, prima 
materia of earth, and he lives in the hall Bilskirnir. 
He probably achieved greater popularity than 
Othin. Described as a massive red-bearded 



champion wearing iron gloves and a girdle of 
might, and wielding a short-handled hammer, 
MjoUnir, which creates lightning when struck 
against stone and becomes a thunderbolt when 
thrown. He may also carry an ax and both may 
represent fertility symbols. The swastika, thought 
to derive from the ax, becomes associated with 
him and he may be further symboUzed by a sacred 
gold or silver arm-ring. 

Thor possesses a prodigious appetite for food 
and drink. He rides the heavens in a chariot 
drawn by two goats, Tanngniost and Tanngrisnir, 
whose wheels cause the sotmd of the thunder. He 
is strongly Hnked with trees and sacred groves. 
The name Thor is the origin of Thursday. 

THOTH 

ORIGIN Egyptian. God of the moon and of 

wisdom. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3000 BC until 
the end of Egyptian history circa AD 400. 

SYNONYMS Djeheuty (archaic). 

center(s) of cult Khemnu [el-Ashmunein] or 
Hermopolis (Greek). Also in the Sinai, in 
Nubia and in the Dakhleh oasis in the western 
desert. 

ART REFERENCES sculpture; stone reliefs; wall 

paintings, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Pyramid Texts; coffin texts, 

etc. 

Thoth is the patron deity of scribes and of knowl- 
edge, including scientific, medical and mathe- 
matic writing, and is said to have given mankind 
the art of hieroglyphic writing. He is important as 
a mediator and counselor among the gods and is 
the scribe of the HeUopolis Ennead pantheon. 
Thoth is described in some inscriptions as a son 
of Re, but according to mythology he was born 
from the head of the god Seth. He may be 
depicted in human form with the head of an ibis. 



314 Thuremlin 



wholly as an ibis, or as a seated baboon some- 
times with its torso covered in feathers. His 
attributes include a crown which consists of a 
crescent moon surmounted by a moon disc. 

Thoth is generally regarded as a benign deity. 
He is also scmpulously fair and is responsible not 
only for entering in the record the souls who pass 
to the afterlife, but of ajudicating in the Hall of the 
Two Truths. The Pyramid Texts reveal a violent 
side of his nature by which he decapitates the 
adversaries of truth and wrenches out their hearts. 

Thuremlin 

God of passage. Australasia. Local deity of several 
tribes in New South Wales. Said to oversee the 
transition from adolescence to manhood. The ini- 
tiate was taken away by the god, "killed," restored 
to Ufe and endured a tooth being knocked out to 
signify the arrival of adulthood and full incorpora- 
tion into the society of the tribe. Also Daramulun. 

Tia (death by violence) 

God of death. Haida Indian [Queen Charlotte 
Island, Canada]. Those who are about to die a 
violent death are said to hear him groaning about 
the camp and see him as a headless corpse with 
blood flowing endlessly from his severed neck. 
He flies through the air. 
See also Ta'xet. 

TIAMAT 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) 
[Iraq]. Primordial creator goddess. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 2000 BC until 
circa 200 BC. 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF CULT Babylon. 

ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae; glyptics, 
etc. 



LITERARY SOURCES cuneiform texts, particularly 
the creation epic Enuma Elis. 

Tiamat is the power of the ocean waters and is 
intimately involved with the Babylonian creation 

story. She combines with the undergrotmd fresh 
waters of Apsu to give birth to eleven monstrous 
beings and is said to have been enraged by the 
death of Apsu at the hands of Enki and at the 
behest of a group of gods headed by Marduk. In 
revenge she forms other deities in the primordial 
cosmos into a rival group and chooses, as her sec- 
ond consort, the minor god Kingu to lead her 
army against Marduk. Marduk ultimately splits 
her in two, making the vault of heaven out of one 
half, using her eyes as the sources of the Tigris 
and Euphrates, and heaping the mountains over 
her head. 

Tiberinus 

River god. Roman. The deity of the river Tiber. 
His consort is one of the Vestal Virgins sacrificed 

by drowning. His sanctuary was built on an island 
in the river and, until some time during the 
Republican period, all bridges across the river 
were made wholly of wood so as not to offend 
him. The adverse connotations of iron are unclear, 
but its use was forbidden by official decree. 

Tien Mu 

Goddess of hghtning. Chinese. She is said to flash 
her mirror at an intended victim of the god Lei 
Kung's thunderbolts to ensure his aim. 

T'ien Tsun (heavenly and honored) 
Generic tide of gods. Taoist (Chinese). The name 
given to each of the three holy images in a Taoist 
temple: the "perfect holy one," the "highest holy 
one" and the "greatest holy one." Also Tian-zhu. 



TEVHAU 315 



Tienoltsodi 

God of oceans and fresh water. Navaho [USA]. 
He controls the waters which have fallen on 
earth, as distinct from those in the heavens, which 
are ruled by the rain god TONENILI. 

Tifenua (lord of the land) 
Chthonic fertility god. Polynesian [Tikopia]. He 
is linked with the sea god Faivarongo and with 
the sky god Atua I Kafika. His father is Pusiu- 
raura, a powerful deity personified by the reef eel, 
and his mother is one of the Sa-Nguti-Te-Moana. 
Also Pu-I-Te-Moana. 

Ti'hmar 

Supreme god. Kolyma Tungus [Siberia]. The 
name by which the Christian god was still 
addressed after local culture was influenced by 
Russian Orthodoxy. 

Tiki 

Creator god. Polynesian (including Maori). One 
of the children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku 
who created mankind. In some Polynesian tradi- 
tions he is represented as the first man, akin to 
Adam. The word is also incorporated in tiki- 
wananga or "god stick," which describes the 
wooden or stone images of deities that are usually 
minimally worked and stand about 19.5 inches 
tall. Only thirty or so examples of these are 
known, most having been destroyed by Christian 
missions. The celebrated large Maori totems are 
depictions of ancestors who appear as human/bird 
or reptile hybrids. Also Ki'i (Hawaiian). 

Tiksnosnisa (hot and sharp) 

God. Buddhist. Apparently connected with the 

guardian deities or dikpalas in the northwestern 



quarter. Color: sky green (possibly meaning 
"overcast"). Attributes: book and sword. 

TiUa 

Bull god. Hittite and Hurrian. The attendant and 
vehicle of the weather god Tesub. 

Timaiti-Ngava Ringavari (soft-bodied) 
Primordial being. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. 

The female principle which, with TiMATEKORE, 
engendered the earth mother Papatuanuku. 

Ximatekore {nothing more) 
Primordial being. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. 
The male principle which, with Timaiti-Ngava 
Ringavari, engendered the earth mother Papat- 
uanuku. 

Tin 

Sky god. Etruscan. His attribute is a bunch of 
lighming flashes and he may appear in association 
with Thalna, goddess of birth. In Roman culture 
he becomes syncretized with Jupiter. 

TIN HAU (queen of heaven) 
ORIGIN Taoist (Chinese). Goddess of waters. 
known period of worship circa ad 1 300 until 
present. 

SYNONYMS Lin Ma-Tzu; Ma-Niang; Ma-Tzu. 
center(s) of cult Hangchow and throughout 

Chinese culture. 
art references paintings and sculptures. 
LITERARY SOURCES various philosophical and 

rehgious texts, mostly inadequately researched 

and as yet untranslated. 

Tin Hau originates as a mortal born on the island 
of Mei-Chou in the Fukien province of China, 



316 Tinirau 



the daughter of a minor official. She died at the 
age of twenty-eight, having perfected herself and 
having experienced recurrent dreams of saving 
fishing boats from the waters close to her village. 
This tradition was inscribed on the walls of a 
sanctuary in Hangchow in AD 1228. 

Tin Hau was deified in 1278 by the Mongol 
emperor Kublai Khan, who introduced the title 
"queen of heaven." The first of the Ch'ing 
emperors subsequently conferred on her the title 
"imperial consort." She was thus subordinate only 
to Yu Huang Shang Ti, the Jade Emperor. 

Tin Hau was first worshiped as a guardian god- 
dess of boats and fishermen, but her role was 
extended so that she became the deity of oceans 
and fresh waters. She is celebrated in a festival on 
the twenty-third day of the third month. In art 
she is frequently depicted with two grotesque 
attendant figures knovm as "Thousand League 
Eyes" and "Favoring Wind Ears." 

Tinirau (innumerable) 

Fish god. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. The sec- 
ond offspring of the great mother Vari-Ma-Te- 
Takere and the younger sibling of AVATEA. He is 
said to live in the coconut of the world on a sacred 
isle called Motu-Tapu immediately below the 
home of Avatea and to own ponds fuU of all kinds 
of fish. He is depicted as half man (right side) and 
half fish (left side) in the form of a sprat. 

Tinnit 

Goddess. Pontic (Carthaginian). 
See also Tantf. 

Tino Taata 

Creator god. Polynesian [Society Islands]. Proba- 
bly regarded as the tutelary deity who engendered 
mankind and equating therefore to the more 
vndely recognized Polynesian god Tangaroa. 



Tir 

God of wisdom. Pre-Christian Armenian. Also 
concerned with writing and revered as an oracle. 

Tirawa 

Creator god. Pawnee Indian [USA]. A remote 
and vaguely defined figure who is present in 
the elements of wind and storm. Lightning is 
the flashing of his eye. He provides the tribe 
with all their needs and is invoked by the Pawnee 
shamans. 

Tirumal (the excellent black one) 
Creator god. Early Dravidian (Tamil). Thought 
to reside in trees and equating with ViSNU. In 
later Hinduism used as an epithet of Visnu. 

Tispak 

God. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). The 
tutelary deity of the city of Esnumma. 

Titans 

A race of gods. Greek. The secondary group of 
deities in the pre-Hellenic pantheon, headed by 
the sky god OURANOS and the earth mother 
Gaia. They have six pairs of children: Okeanos 
and Tethys, Kronos and Rhea, Hyperion and 
Thea, Koeos and Phoebe, Iapetos and Klymene, 
Kreos and Eurybe. According to legend the chil- 
dren usurped their father but were eventually 
beaten by Zeus, heading the major group of 
the pantheon, who hurled them into the abyss of 
Tartaros. 

Tidacahuan (we his slaves) 

Ominoptent god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 

[Mexico]. A universal and generally malevolent 



Tlalehitonatiuh 317 



power. One of the group classed as the Tez- 
CATLIPOCA complex. 

TIWAZ (derives from Indo-European word 

for god, dieiis) 
ORIGIN Germanic (northwestern Europe). Chief 

sky god; god of war. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC and 

probably earUer until Christianization circa AD 

1100. 

SYNONYMS Tyr; Tiw or Tig (Anglo-Saxon); 

Teiwa (archaic). 
center(s) of cult scattered forest sanctuaries. 
ART REFERENCES reliefs in stone and metal. 
LITERARY SOURCES runic inscriptions (see 

Wodan). 

Germanic war god and probably chief among 
their sky gods, one of two contenders on 
which Othin may have been modeled in 
Nordic (Icelandic) culture. Classical writers 
identified the Roman war god Mars with 
Tiwaz, thus for the third day of the week we 
have mardi in French but Tuesday in English. 
The runic symbol for Tiwaz is sometimes cut 
on spears, presumably to offer talismanic pro- 
tection. Tiwaz represents law and order and 
appears as a more honest judiciary than Othin 
(see Othin). 

According to legend, Tiwaz is a one-armed god, 
having sacrificed his hand to the jaws of the wolf 
Fenrir so that it might be bound up. This may 
have been the origin of a practice by which, 
according to Tacitus, the Germanic Semnones 
tribe bound the hands and feet of those entering 
a woodland sanctuary, probably dedicated to 
Tiwaz. At Ragnarok (doom) it is believed that 
Fenrir will break free and swallow the sun. 
According to Snorri {Prose Edda) the wolf Garm, 
possibly Fenrir by another name, kills Tiwaz in 
the final battle of the gods. Place names such as 



Tiiesley in Surrey, England, derive from the name 
of the god. 

Ti'ykitiy 

Sun spirit. Yakut [southeastern and central 
Siberia]. Often identified with the supreme being 
Ayi'uru'n Toyo'n. 

Ti'zU-Kutkhu 

Guardian spirit. Kamchadal [southeastern 
Siberia]. One of the sons of the creator spirit 
KuTKHU, his consort is Si'duku and he is 
considered to be the progenitor of the Kamchadal 
tribe. 

Tlacahuepaii (human beam) 
Minor god of war. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico] . A patron god of Mexico and one of the 
group classed as the HUITZILPOCHTLI complex. 

Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (lord of the dawn) 
God of the morning star (Venus). Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. An incarnation or 

avatara of the god creator QuETZALCOATL and 
one of the group classed as the Alixcoati complex. 
The ruler of the twelfth of the thirteen heavens 
known at the time of the Spanish conquest, Teotl 
Tlatlauhcan (the place of the red god). In other 
traditions (described in codices Borgia and Vati- 
canus B) he is one of the four gods supporting the 
lowest heaven at each cardinal point; he resides in 
the east. 

Tlalehitonatiuh (on the earth sun) 
Chthonic underworld god. Aztec (classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as 
the MiCTLANTECXJHTLl complex. 



318 TLALOC 



TLALOC 

ORIGIN Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. 
Rain god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP mainly circa ad 750 
to AD 1 500, but probably much earlier and still 
continuing among peasants in rural areas. 

SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult Tenochtitlan, Teotihuacan, 
Tula, etc. 

ART references stone sculptures; murals and 

codex illustrations. 
LITERARY SOURCES pre-Columbian codices. 

One of the principal personalities in Aztec cre- 
ation mythology, Tlaloc was fashioned with the 
water goddess Chalchiuhtlicue. According to 
some traditions he is the father of the moon god 
Tecciztecatl, whom he sacrificed in the great 
fire to engender the moon. He is also perceived as 
the ruler of the eighth of the thirteen heavens 
known at the time of the Spanish conquest, 
Dhuicatl Xoxouhcan (the blue heaven). He is a 
fertility god who created water and rain and 
presided over the third of the five world ages, 
which he ended with a great fiery rain. He has 
control over lightning. He is perceived in four 
forms — black, white, blue and red — but typically 
blue with "goggles" over the eyes and serpent 
fangs. It has been suggested that he evolved from 
a jaguar-type animistic deity worshiped by the 
Olmecs. He was propitiated to bring rain at the 
end of the dry season by sacrificing large numbers 
of small children on mountain altars. 

At Tenochtitlan, the Great Temple is dedicated 
jointly to HuiTZiLOPOCHTLi and Tlaloc. One of 
the best sculptures is from Cuilapan, Oaxaca 
(early classic period). A tableau among the palace 
murals of Tepantitla is allegedly dominated by 
the god from whose hands flow droplets of water 
with a background of trees, butterflies and 



human figures. Wall paintings including a mural 
depiction exist at Zacuala. At Tula, Hidalgo, 
Pyramid B used by the Taltecs includes human 
sculptures known as chacmools, holding dishes 
which are believed to have held human hearts 
for Tlaloc. 

Tlaloque-Tepictoton (the small molded 

ones) 

Fertility and rain god. Aztec (classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico] . The personification of small, rain- 
bearing hills. One of the group classed as the 
Tlaloc complex. 

Tlaltecuhtli 

Chthonic creator goddess. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. In Aztec cosmogony, 
Tlaltecuhtli is a monstrous, toad-like figure 
whose body is cleaved in two by the gods Tez- 
CATLIPOCA and QUETZALCOATL to fashion heaven 
and earth. The ruler of the second of the thirteen 
heavens known at the time of the Spanish con- 
quest, Ilhuicatl Tlalocan Ipan Metzth (the heaven 
of the paradise of the rain god over the moon), 
she is also one of the group classed as the Mk;t- 
LANTECUHTLi complex. She is said to swallow the 
sun each evening and disgorge it in the dawn. She 
also devours the blood and hearts of sacrificial 
victims and the souls of the dead. 
See also Cipactli. 

Tlazolteotl (Ixcuiname) 

Chthonic or earth goddess. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico] . Known locally from the 
gulf coast region of Huaxteca. A maternal goddess 
hnked with sexual sin and personifying filth. One 
of the group of fertility deities classed as the 
Teteoinnan complex. 



Tomwo'get 319 



Tloque Nahauque (rukr of the near and 

the adjacent) 
Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the Omeotl 
complex. 

Tna'nto (dawn coming out) 
Spirit of the dawn. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
The apotheosis of the first Ught of dawn in the 
eastern sky. 

Tnecei'vune (dawn walking woman) 
Spirit of the dawn. Chukchee [southeastern 
Siberia]. The female consort of the dawn. 

See also Tne'sgan, Mratna'irgin, Lietna'ir- 
GIN and Na'chitna'irgin. 

Tne'sgan (top of the dawn) 

Spirit of the dawn. Chukchee [southeastern 

Siberia]. One of four beings controlling 

the dawn in different directions. Sacrifice is 
made and blood is sprinkled in the appropriate 
direction. 

Toa'lalit 

God of hunters. Bella Coola Indian [British 
Columbia, Canada]. Oversees the hunting of 
mountain goats. He is invisible, but great hunters 
may catch a glimpse of his hat, moccasins or 
mountain staff moving about. His animals are the 
lynx and raven. 

Tobadzistsini (child of the water) 
War god. Navaho [USA]. Considered younger 
and inferior to Nayenezgani, the chief war 
god of the Navaho. His mother conceived him 



through the magical power of a waterfall. His 
priest wears similar attire to that of Nayenezgani, 
but the mask is painted with red ocher except for 
a triangular black area bordered with white. It 
also has a fringe of yellow or red wool. 

Tokakami 

God of death. Huichol Indian (Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. His chief antagonist is the moon god- 
dess Metsaka. 



Toko'yoto (crab) 

Guardian spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
In Koryak tradition, one of the "owners" of the 
world, the master and creator of the Pacific 
Ocean. His name is that of a large sea crab. In 
some legends he is the father of AliTi, the mother 
of the Koryak people. 

Tomiyauhtecuhtli (our male maize 

efflorescence lord) 
Fertility and rain god. Aztec (classical Mesoamer- 
ican) [Mexico]. One of the group classed as the 
Tlaloc complex. 

Tomor 

Creator god. Illyrian [Albania]. Also a god of the 
winds. Depicted in human form attended by 
eagles and still invoked by rural peasants. 

Tomwo'get (self-created) 
Archetypal creator being. Koryak [southeastern 
Siberia]. The consort of Ha'na and father of 
Supreme Being, Tenanto'mwan, and of Big 
Raven, Quikinna'qu. 



320 Tonacacihuatl 



Tonacacihuad (our flesh lady) 
Primordial deity. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. In the most widely accepted Aztec cos- 
mogony, this is the self-created, eternal, female 
principle who combines with ToNACATECUHTLl 
to create all life, transferring souls from heaven to 
the mortal womb. It exists in the highest, thir- 
teenth heaven and once engendered the sun god 
TezCATLIPOCA, from whom all other deities in 
the pantheon stemmed. One of the group classed 
as the Omeotl complex. Also Omecihuatl. 

Tonacatecuhtli (our flesh lord) 
Primordial deity. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. In the most widely accepted Aztec cos- 
mogony, this is the self-created, eternal, male 
principle who combines with TONACACIHUATL 
to create all Ufe. It exists in the highest, thirteenth 
heaven and once engendered the sun god Tez- 
CATLIPOCA, from whom all other deities in the 
pantheon stemmed. Also one of the group classed 
as the Ometeotl complex. According to tradi- 
tion Tonacatecuhtli drove four roads through the 
center of the earth after the cataclysm of the 
fourth world age (Atl) to disperse the flood waters 
of the deluge. His four sons, aided by four 
unnamed beings, raised the fallen sky which they 
propped up on great trees created by Tezcatlipoca 
and QUETZALCOATL at the four cardinal points. 
See also Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, Ehecatl- 

QUETZALCOATL and MiCTLANTECUHTLI. 

In alternative mythology Tbnacatecuhdi is the 
ruler of the sixth of the thirteen heavens known at 
the time of the Spanish conquest, Ilhuicatl Yayauh- 
can (the blackish heaven). Also Ometecuhtli. 

Tonaleque 

Goddess. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mex- 
ico]. The ruler of the fifth of the thirteen heavens 
known at the time of the Spanish conquest. 



Ilhuicatl Huixtotlan (heaven of the salt fertiUty 
goddess). 

Tonatiuh (soaring eagle) 
Creator god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. He presides over the fifth (present) 
world age, personified by the sun OlUn and des- 
tined to end in a cataclysmic earthquake. He is the 
ruler of the fourth of the thirteen heavens known 
at the time of the Spanish conquest; also called 
Ilhuicatl Tonatiuh (the heaven of the sun). In 
other texts, specifically codices Borgia, Cospi and 
Fejervary-Mayer, he is depicted as a temple deity. 

Tonenili 

Rain god. Navaho [USA]. The so-called "lord of 

the celestial waters," he controls the rain from 
the skies as opposed to that of lakes, rivers and 
seas. He is said to scatter his waters to the four 
cardinal points and storm clouds begin to gather. 
He is also the water-carrier for the other gods in 
the pantheon. He wears a blue mask with a fringe 
of hair and a spruce collar, but is otherwise naked 
save for a scarlet loin-cloth and a leather belt with 
silver ornamentation and a fox skin dangling at 
the back. His attributes, in mythology only, are 
two wicker water-bottles, one blue and one black, 
whose strings are rainbows. 

Topoh 

Astral god. Pokot and Suk [Uganda and western 
Kenya, East Africa]. The son of the creator god 
ToRORUT and his consort Seta, he is god of the 
evening star. 

Tork 

Mountain god. Pre-Christian Armenian. Of ter- 
rifying appearance, he is the guardian deity of 
mountains and their inhabitants. 



Toyo-Uke-Bime 321 



Tomarssuk (big tornak or shaman) 
Supreme being. Inuit. The master of the to-mat, 
the group of controlling deities. He is essentially 
benevolent and can be communicated with 
through the individual tornak of a shaman. His 
home is in the imderworld in the land of souls. He 
is described as being of vague appearance, possi- 
bly in the guise of a huge bear, though in Green- 
land Inuit tradition he hves in the sea, appearing 
as a large fat seal with long tentacles (i.e. possibly 
a cuttlefish). He devours the souls of those he can 
capture. With the introduction of Christianity he 
was syncretized with the devil. 

Toro 

Creator god. Ngbandi [Democratic Republic of 
Congo, central Africa]. He is perceived as a great 
serpent, the son of Kangalogba, who is both the 
spirit of the dragonfly and the symbol of the 
sacred river Oubangui. 

Tororut 

Creator god. Pokot and Suk [Uganda and western 
Kenya, East Africa]. He is invoked in a special 
aimual ceremony, which involves the sacrifice of 
an ox, to ensure safety of crops and cattle. The 
same ritual is performed in times of drought, 
famine or plague. His brother is AsiS the sun god. 
His consort is Seta and their children include 
the rain god Ilat, Arawa the moon and Topoh 
the evening star. 

Totatis See Teutates. 

Totilma'il (father-mother) 
Creator being. Mayan (Tzotzil, classical Meso- 
american) [Mexico]. An androgynous personaUty 
who represents the ancestral source of creation. 



Totoltecad 

Fertility god. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) 
[Mexico]. One of the group classed as the 
Ometochtli complex concerned with the maguey 
plant and the brewing of the alcoholic drink 
pulque. 

Tou Mou 

Goddess of measure. Chinese. Usually depicted 
with many arms and with a caste mark on her 
forehead, suggesting that she derives from the 
goddess of the aurora, Marici, in Indian Bud- 
dhism. She is considered to live in the constella- 
tion of Ursa Major and may also be an aspect of 
the astral goddess Tin Hau. 

Touia Fatuna (iron stone) 
Earth goddess. Polynesian [Tanga]. The daughter 
of Kele (slime) and Limu (seaweed), she is the 
apotheosis of rock deep in the earth and is 
periodically in labor, at which time she rumbles 
and shakes and produces children. 

Toumou 

God of uncertain function. Egyptian. A deity 
whose mummy was allegedly kept at HeUopolis. 

Toyo-Uke-Bime 

Goddess of foodstuffs. Shinto [Japan]. An 
ambiguous deity often identified with Inari, she is 
said in the Kojiki to be a daughter of Waku- 
Musubi-No-Kami and a great granddaughter of 
Izanagi and Izanaaii. Her main sanctuary is the 
Geku in Ise, whither she was allegedly removed 
from Tamba after the emperor had received a 
dream-message from the sun goddess Amaterasu 
in AD 478. 



322 Tozi 



Tozi 

Goddess of healing. Aztec (classical Mesoameri- 
can) [Mexico]. Also the deity of sweet water 
remedial baths. 



Trailokyavijaya (lord of three -worlds) 
Grod. Buddhist (Mahayana). Seen standing on the 
Hindu deities Mahesvara (SiVA) and Gauri. 
Color: blue. Attributes: arrow, bell, bow, club, 
hook, noose, prayer wheel, staff and sword. Also 
an alternative name for ACALA. 



Trayastrinsa (the thirty-three) 
Collective name for the group of deva gods. 
Hindu (Vedic). One of the many lists of 
deities in Hinduism, this one is contained in 
the Rg Veda and includes thirty-three names 
divided into three groups of eleven in each of 
the three worlds. Subsequently, the devas 
were separated into eight Vasus, twelve 
Adityas, eleven rudras and two ASVINS. In later 
Hinduism the number thirty-three is increased 
hyperbolically to 330 million and deva refers to 
gods excluding the major triad of Brahma, 
ViSNU and SrvA. 



Triglav 

God of war. Slav (Baltic). The head of the pan- 
theon in Stettin and also mentioned in association 
with Brandenburg, he is described in chronicles as 
bearing three heads. 

Trikantakidevi (goddess of three thorns) 
Goddess. Hindu. Of terrible appearance. Color: 
part red, part black. Attributes: conch, two lamps, 
prayer wheel and teeth. 



Trimurti 

Collective title for the major triad. Hindu. A 
three-headed representation of Brahma, Visnu 
and Siva as one entity. Contested by some 
authors, who argue that Brahma, who is almost 
invariably represented with four heads, would be 
included here with only one. 

Tripura (lady of the three cities) 
Mother goddess. Hindu and Jain. In Jainism 
regarded as one of the ASTAMATARAS. In Hin- 
duism the Sakti of Tripurantaka, an ugra (terri- 
ble) representation of the god SiVA, alternatively 
a form of the goddess Parvati. The "three cities" 
are the cities of gold, silver and iron, one in 
heaven, one in the air and one on earth, which 
Siva destroyed in his form as Tripurantaka. 
Tripura is depicted attended by vultures. Attrib- 
utes: book, hook, noose and rosary. 

Trita (Aptya) 

Gk)d(dess). Hindu (Vedic). Known from the Rg 
Veda. An obscure form of Indra with strong water 
attributes. Also Aptya. 

Tritons 

Alinor sea gods. Roman. The children of Posei- 
don and Amphitrite who are depicted as hybrid 
fish-men. Generally included in the royal court of 
the god Neptune. Attributes: conches. 
See also Neptunus. 

Trivikrama (taking three steps) 
God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). It may originally 
have been the name of a stm god, but is taken as 
the incarnation of ViSNU which strides the world 
in three steps in his dwarfish manifestation, and is 
linked with the Hindu perception of the three 



Tu(2) 323 



parts of the world — ^heaven, air and earth. His 
Sakti is Santi. Normally depicted with the left 
leg raised. Attributes: arrow, bow, club, conch, 
knife, lotus, noose, plough, prayer wheel, staff 
and sword. 

Trograin 

Minor god. Celtic (Irish). 
Tsai Shen 

God of wealth. Chinese. The deity associated 
with mandarins. He is depicted wearing a pink 
robe associated with Yin and the season of spring. 
His attributes include a ring of coins around the 
hem of the robe, a lotus motif of fertility on the 
breast and a golden mushroom, a symbol of 
longevity, carried in the hand. One of his atten- 
dants carries a deer horn, symbol of potency, 
while the other carries a bowl of money and a 
sheaf of golden grass. 

Tsai Shen may appear in company with Fu 
SiiEN, god of luck, and Shou Lao, god of 
longevity. 

Tsa'qamae 

God of salmon migration. Qwe'gsotenox hidian 
[British Columbia, Canada]. The so-called "head 
winter dancer," his attributes include head ring 
and neck ring of bark to which heads are 
attached. 

Tsohanoai (day bearer) 
Sun god. Navaho [USA]. Not regarded as a 
supreme god, Tsohanoai moves across the sky, 
invisible, behind the disc of the sun, sa, which is his 
shield. His consort is the fertility goddess EST- 
SANATLEHI and he is the father of the war 



god Nayenezgani. He is also attributed vnth the 
creation of all the big game animals. He is thought 
to walk on a rainbow and ride a blue steed. He is 
never depicted in art nor impersonated. 

Tsuki-Yomi 

Moon god. Shinto [Japan]. Engendered from the 
right eye of IZANAGi immediately after Amat- 
ERASU was engendered from the left. There is 
very little reference to him in the sacred texts and 
his is a highly aesthetic form of worship. Allegedly 
he slew the food KAMI Uke-Mochi. He is depicted 
riding a horse and a number of sanctuaries are 
addressed to his cult, including the two Tsuki- 
Yomi-No-Miya shrines in the Ise Jingu temple. 
He also enjoys an ancient sanctuary on the island 
of Ed. Also Tsuki-Yomi-Otoko. 

Tstinigoab (wounded knee) 
Creator god. Khoi [Namibia, southwestern 
Africa]. As his name suggests, he walks vnth a 
limp. His injury was sustained in a primordial bat- 
tle with his arch rival Gaunab, the god of dark- 
ness, who was eventually driven away to live in the 
black heaven. Tsunigoab used to be invoked at 
dawn each day. 

Tu(l) 

Chthonic earth goddess. Chinese. A fertiUty spirit 
also identified as she who was invoked to bring 
good harvests by phalUc-shaped mounds of earth 
left in the fields. 

Tu (2) 

Primordial god. Polynesian. One of three ele- 
ments, with Tane and LONO, who existed in 
chaos and night which they broke into pieces. 



324 TUATHA DE DANANN 



allowing day to come in. Tu represents stability. He 
is also regarded as a war god. Also Ku (Hawaiian). 

TUATHA DE DANANN (peoples of the 

goddess Danii) 
ORIGIN Celtic (Irish). Collective name for the 
pantheon. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until Christianization circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult various throughout Ireland, 

but chiefly Tara. 
ART REFERENCES various stone sculptures and 
reUefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Books of Invasions; Cycles of 
Kings; votive inscriptions. 

An association of deities probably going back to 
pre-tribal times. The deities include the Dagda, 
Lug, Gobniu, Nuadu Argatlam and others and 
represent a possibly non-tribal hierarchy of the 
supernatural joined against a common foe, the 
powers of destruction and misfortune, the 
Fomoire, and the Fir Bolg who were allegedly an 
agricultural tribe from Greece. These were pre- 
historic invaders of Ireland who were defeated in 
two battles fought at Moytara. 

Tradition claims that the Tuatha arrived in Ire- 
land under the leadership of the god NUADA from 
somewhere in the north. Four places relating to 
their country of origin are mentioned in old 
text — Falias, Finias, Gorias and Murias. No 
further details arc given. Having defeated the 
Fomoire and the Fir Bolg, they are said to have 
become the rulers of Ireland. 

The Tuatha de Danann mythology is famiUar 
to all the Celtic races and the names of the gods 
and goddesses, with local variations, are also 
known from Welsh mythology. Under Christian 
influence the position of the pantheon was deni- 



grated and individual members were placed in the 
ranks of fairies. 

Tule 

Spider god. Zande [Sudan and Democratic 
Republic of Congo, Africa]. He descended from 
the sky on a rope, carrying all plants and seeds. 
He was also responsible for giving mankind water 
and the tools of cultivation. 

Tumatauenga 

God of war. Polynesian (including Maori). One of 
the children of the prime parents Ranginue and 
Papatuanuku, he proposed the slaughter of his 
parents when it was decided to separate them as 
sky and earth. He was subsequently given charge 
over mankind (tangata), which he imbued with 
his lust for the warfere and violence that was a 
characteristic part of Maori culture. Also 
Kumatauenga (Hawaiian). 

Tu-Metua (stick-by-parent) 
God. Polynesian [Hervey Islands] . The sixth child 
of Vari-Ma-Te-Takere, the primordial mother. 
Torn from her right side, he stays with her in the 
confined space at the bottom of the world 
coconut and lives in endless silence. 

Tumuteanaoa (echo) 

Goddess. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. The 
fourth child of Vari-Ma-Te-Takere, the pri- 
mordial mother. Torn from her right side, 
Timuteanaoa lives in Te-Parai-'Fca (hollow gray 
rocks) below the home of the god Tango. 

Tunek 

God of seal hunters. Inuit. A fearsome being of 
huge stature (13 feet tall) who Uves on the ice 



Tzultacah 325 



fields and is capable of running very fast. He also 
sits in his kaiak in the fog and catches seal in huge 
traps. 

Turan 

Goddess of love. Etruscan. The tutelary deity of 
Vulci, she is depicted bearing wings and with 
attributes including a swan, a dove and a blossom. 

Turms 

Chthonic underworld god. Etruscan. Modeled on 
the Greek messenger god Hermes, with caduceus 
(winged rod), winged shoes and cloak, he leads 
the souls of the dead toward the underworld. 

Tutu 

God. Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). The 
tutelary god of Borsippa, near Babylon, during 
the reign of Hammurabi in the old Babylonian 
period, but later superseded by Nabu. 

Tvastar (carpenter) 

Creator god. Hindu (Vedic). The "divine builder" 
who fashions living creatures on earth. The 
Hindu equivalent of the Roman god Vulcanus. 
An Aditya or sun god and the father of Saranyu. 
Attributes: homajakalika (an \mcertain fire device), 
ladle and two lotuses. Also Tastar; Tvashtri; 
ViSVAKARMAN. 

Tyche 

Goddess of fortune. Greco-Roman. She appears 
as a nereid in the Hymn to Demeter (Homer). 
According to Hesiod's Theogony she is the daugh- 
ter of Okeanos. Elsewhere she is identified as 
the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is depicted 



carrying a rudder or, alternatively, cornucopiae. 
Also mentioned as Agathe Tyche, the consort of 
Agathos Daemon. She became widely identified 
with the Asian mother goddess Kybele but was 
replaced, in Roman times, by the goddess FOR- 
TUNA and associated symbolically with a wheel 
device. She retained popularity for a long time. 
There is a record that the Emperor Julian sacri- 
ficed to Tyche at Antioch in AD 361-2 and her 
temple was still intact during the reign of Theo- 
dosius (379-95). 

Tyr See TiwAZ. 

Xzontemoc (head-descending) 
Minor underworld god. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. One of the group 
classed as the MiCTLANTECUHTLl complex. 

Tzu Svin Niangniang 

Mother goddess. Chinese. One of the "nine dark 
ladies" of the pantheon who are regarded as 
having a protective role. She was the mortal wife 
of a minor official and, having borne him 
five sons and two daughters, committed suicide 
in order to ensure her future chastity. She is 
invoked at weddings to provide children, 
especially sons, and special cakes are eaten by 
the bride and groom. One of her more famous 
sanctuaries, on the island of Taiwan, is the Yin 
Yang Stone. 

Tzultacah (mountain valley) 
Chthonic and thunder gods. Mayan (classical 
Mesoamerican) [Mexico]. A group of deities who 
combine the features of earth and rain gods. 
Although there are considered to be an indefinite 



326 Tzultacah 



number of Tzultacahs, only thirteen are invoked 
in prayers. They live in, and may personify, 
springs and rivers, but each is the owner of a spe- 
cific mountain. They are attended by snakes 



which are dispatched to punish mankind for 
wrongdoing. Non-poisonous varieties are sent to 
discipline against minor offenses, rattlesnakes for 
more serious depravity. 



u 



Ua-Ildak 

Vegetation goddess. Mesopotamian (Babylonian- 
Akkadian). The deity responsible for pastures and 
poplar trees. 



Ugar 

Vegetation god. Western Semitic (Syrian). Possi- 
bly linked with the Canaanite city of Ugarit [Ras 
Samra]. 



Ubertas 

Minor god of agriculture. Roman. Known 
particularly from the reign of Tiberias in 
the second century BC and associated with 
prosperity. 

Ucchusma 

God. Buddhist. An emanation of Aksobhya or 
Ratnasambhava. Also a form of Jambhala. He is 
depicted as pot-bellied and stands upon Kubera, 
the Hindu god of riches, who lies with jewels 
spewing from his mouth. Attributes: cup, ichneu- 
mon fly, image of Aksobhya in the hair, moon 
disc and snakes. Three-eyed. 



Udadhikumara 

Generic name of a god. Jain [India] . One of a 
group of deities under the general title of 
BHVANAVASl (dwelling in places). They have youth- 
ful appearance. 



Ugracandika (violent Canda) 
Distinct form of the goddess DuRGA. Hindu 
(Epic and Puranic). One of a group of Navadur- 
GAS, the "nine durgas." 

Ugratara (violent Tara) 

Goddess. Hindu (Puranic). A terrible deity who 

carries a cup and a corpse upon her head. 

Ukko 

Thunder god. Pre-Christian Finnish. Drives a 
cart which generates flashes of lighming as the 
horses' hoofs hit stones along the way; the noise 
of thunder comes from the wheels or from Ukko 
grinding corn with a big stone. Attributes: ax, 
blue robe, hammer and sword. 

Ukur 

Chthonic underworld god. Mesopotamian (Baby- 
lonian-Akkadian). 



327 



328 ULL 



ULL [Gothic] (glory) 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic) and Germanic. May 
have originated as an early northern German 
sky god, but also connected with fertility and 
with the sea. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 
until Christianization circa AD 11 00. 

SYNONYMS Ullr. 

center(s) of cult none known, but several 
place names in Norway and Sweden allude. 

ART references possibly the subject of anony- 
mous carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); place names. 

A sky god of Asgard, but with some links to the 
Vanir gods. The son of SiF and stepson of Thor, 
he is responsible for justice, and oaths were once 
sworn over the "ring of Ull." He may also have a 
role in the fertility of crops. Skaldic verse men- 
tions the "ship of Ull," presumed to be a reference 
to the use of UU's shield as a boat. A scabbard 
excavated in Denmark in the third century AD 
bears a runic inscription "servant of UU." Accord- 
ing to Snorri he wears a bow and snow shoes. 
Saxo describes him crossing the sea on a magic 
bone — a ski? He may have a sister, Ullin. 

ULU'TUYAR ULU TOYO'N (titular 

horrible lord) 
ORIGIN Yakut [central Siberia]. Malevolent 

creator spirit. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until circa AD 1900. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) of cult no fixed sanctuaries. 
ART references possibly wood carvings. 
LITERARY SOURCES The Yakut (Jochelson). 

A creative being superintending the ICCl (masters 
or owners) and generally seen in a destructive 



capacity. He Uves in the upper world, and "in the 
west." 

See also Uru'n Ajy Toyo'n. 
Uma 

A form of the goddess Parvati. Hindu (Puranic). 
Uma is identified as the consort of Chan- 
drashekhara, a form of SiVA which includes 
the moon among his attributes. The meaning of 
her name is unclear, but possibly has maternal 
connotations. As Uma Maheshvara she fought 
with demons including Mahisha. Attributes: 
lotus, mirror, rosary and waterjar. 
See also SOMASKANDA. 

Umashi-Ashi-Kabi-Hiko-Ji-No-Kami 

(pleasant reed shoot prince elder deity) 
Creator being. Shinto [Japan]. The fourth of the 
deities to be listed in the Kojiki sacred text. He was 
engendered from the reeds floating on the pri- 
mordial waters and is perceived as a remote and 
vague figure who hides himself from mankind. 

Umvelinkwangi 

Creator god. Zulu [South Africa]. He engendered 
all plants and animals on earth and is the father of 
the god Unkulunkulu, who was born from a 
reed and engendered mankind. 

Uni 

Tutelary goddess. Etruscan. The consort of the 
sky god Tin and linked with the region of Perugia. 

Unkulunkulu 

Creator god. Zulu [South Africa]. The androgy- 
nous son/daughter of UMVELINKWANGI, and the 
progenitor of mankind, he was born from a reed. 



Usas 329 



Unumbote 

Creator god. Bassari [Ibgo, West Africa]. Engen- 
dered all living things on earth. 



Uras 

Chthonic earth goddess. Mesopotamian (Sumer- 
ian). One of the named consorts of the sky god 
An and the mother of NiN'iNSINNA. 



Unxia 

Goddess of marriage. Roman. Concerned with 
anointing the bridegroom's door. 

Upakesini 

Minor god. Buddhist. An attendant of Ara- 
PACANA. 



Upapattivasita (control of fitness) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of a group 

of Vasitas personifying the disciplines of spir- 
itual regeneration. Color: mixed. Attribute: a 
creeper. 

Upayaparamita (perfecting success against 
enemies) 

Philosophical deity. Buddhist. Spiritual offspring 
of Ratnasambhava. Color: green. Attributes: 
jeweled staff and staff on yellow lotus. 

Upulvan (like the blue lotus) 
Local god. Singhalese [Sri Lanka]. The most sen- 
ior of the four great gods of the Singhalese pan- 
theon. Identified with ViSNU, according to one 
tradition his specific task was to protect the cul- 
ture of Sri Lanka from Buddhism. Conversely he 
stood by Gautama BUDDHA against the Hindu 
Mara. 



Uranos See Ouranos. 



URU'N AJY TOYO'N (white creator lord) 
ORIGIN Yakut [central Siberia]. Creator spirit. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP prehistoric times 

until circa 1900 AD. 
SYNONYMS Ayi'-Uru'n Toyo'n (lord bright 

creator). 

center(s) of cult no fixed sanctuaries. 
ART REFERENCES possibly Sculptures in wood. 
LITERARY SOURCES The Yakut 0ochelson). 

A creator being said to live in the zenith of the 
upper world, and also "in the northeast," superin- 
tending the ICCI (masters or owners). He may also 
personify the sun. He tends to act for good and 
horses were sacrificed to him. Generally addressed 
by a beneficent or white shaman (ajy ayuna). 
See also Ulu'tuyar Ulu Toyo'n. 

Usas 

Goddess of the dawn. Hindu (Vedic). The 
daughter of Dyaus and, according to some texts, 
the consort of the sun god SURYA. An auspicious 
deity, Usas brings the dawn, heralding Surya, 
and drives away darkness. She is the all-seeing 
eye of the gods. In the Rg Veda she is depicted as 
a beautiful young virginal figure who rides in a 
hundred chariots. She sets all things in motion 
and can render strength and fame to her devo- 
tees. In addition to being perceived as a sky 
goddess, she is also drawn as a mother goddess 
in the guise of a cow. Epithets include "mother 
of the gods" and "mother of cows." She is 
invoked to give the boon of longevity, but a 



330 Usins 



more malignant aspect reveals her as a huntress 
who wastes human life. Usas sometimes 
enjoys a domestic worship as a guardian hearth 
goddess who drives away darkness and evil 
spirits. She disappears, however, from the 
later traditions of Hinduism. 

Usins 

Astral god. Pre-Christian Latvian. Associated 
with both the morning and evening star and also 
has links with bee-keepers and spring. Under 
Christian influence he becomes absorbed into the 
figure of St. George. 



jewel, noose, prayer wheel, staff and waterjar. 
Three-eyed, three-headed and with eight arms. 

Uttarabhadrapada 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A moderate naksatrA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 

Uttaraphalguni 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 

Puranic). A moderate naksatrA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 



Uslo 

Spirit of mountains. Yakut [central Siberia]. One 
of the guardians of the natural world answering to 
the mountain owner Xaya Iccita. 



Uttarasadha 

Minor goddess of fortune. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). A benevolent NAKSATRA; daughter of 
Daksa and wife of Candra (Soma). 



Usnisa 

God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the 
zenith direction. Also a collective term for a 
group of eight deities, including Usnisa, who are 
perceived as extensions of the Dhyanibuddhas. 

NOTE: the word describes, additionally, a type 
of curled hairstyle found in the characteristic 
iconography of huddhas. Color: yellow. Attributes: 
jewel, lotus, prayer wheel and sword. Three- 
headed. 

Usnisavijaya (victorious) 
Primordial goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Eorm 
of Vairocana, widely worshiped in Tibet. 
Regarded as a female BODHISATTVA or buddha- 
designate, and a dikpala or guardian of the zenith 
direction. Also a deification of literature. One of 
a group of Dharanis. Color: white. Attributes: 
arrow, bow, image of the BUDDHA on a lotus leaf. 



Uttu 

Vegetation goddess and goddess of weaving. 
Mesopotamian (Sumerian). Not to be confused 
with Utu the sun god, Uttu is a minor deity 
whose father is Enki. According to legend, Enki 
first impregnated the mother goddess NlNHUR- 
SAGA, whose nine-day gestation produced the 
goddess NiN-SAR. She in turn was impregnated by 
Enki and, after a similar nine-day gestation, gave 
birth to the goddess Ninkurra. Through the 
same procedure with her grandfather, Ninkurra 
conceived the goddess Utto. She is depicted as the 
goddess of weaving and of spiders. 

UTU 

ORIGIN Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq]. Sun 
god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 3500 BC to 
circa 1750 BC. 



UTU 331 



SYNONYMS Samas (Akkadian). 
center(s) of cult Sippar. 
ART REFERENCES plaques, votive stelae and glyp- 
tics. 

LITERARY SOURCES various Creation epics and 
other texts. 

Utu is the power of sunlight and, in a social 
context, of justice and the implementation of law. 
He is the son of the moon god Nanna and the 



goddess NiNLlL. His brother and sister are ISKUR 
and Inana. He rises "in the mountains of the 
east" and sets "in the mountans of the west." He 
is usually depicted wearing a horned helmet and 
carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a prun- 
ing saw, which it is thought he has used to cut 
through the side of a mountain from which he 
emerges, symbolizing the dawn. He may also 
carry a mace and stand with one foot on the 
mountain. 



V 



Vac (speech) 

1. Goddess of the spoken word. Hindu (Vedic). 
In some texts she is a daughter of Daksa and con- 
sort of Kasyapa. Alternatively she is the daughter 
of Ambhrna. Also known by the epithet "queen of 
the gods," Vac is the personification of the phe- 
nomenon of speech and oral communication. She 
gives the boon of hearing, speech and sight and 
she can lead a man to become a Brahman. She 
also personifies truth and sustains soma — the liq- 
uid essence of vision and immortality. She is said 
to have created the four Vedas, the basis of the 
earUest Hindu mythology. 

Though she takes a prominent place in the Rg 
Veda, Vac largely disappears from later Hindu 
traditions. She may have become syncretized with 
the goddess of wisdom, Sarasvati. She is gener- 
ally depicted as an elegant womanly figure 
dressed in gold, but in the secondary capacity of 
a mother goddess she is also drawn as a cow. 

2. God. Buddhist. An emanation of Amitabha 
and a variety of Manjusri. 

Vacuna 

Minor goddess. Sabine. A sanctuary dedicated to 
this deity is known to have existed near the villa 
belonging to the poet Horace. She may be syn- 
onymous with Diana or Minerva. 



Vadali 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Marici. Attributes: flower, needle, noose 
and staff. 

Vagbija (seed of speech) 

Alinor goddess. Hindu (Puranic). An aspect of 
the goddess Sarasvati in the form of a bija mantra. 
The embodiment or apotheosis of consciousness 
representing the sacred word. 

Vagisvara Qord of speech) 
God of speech. Buddhist. The tutelary deity of 
Nepal. An emanation of all Dhyanibuddhas 
(spiritual meditation buddhas) and a variety of 
Manjusri. Accompanied by a lion or seated upon 
a lion throne. Attribute: blue lotus. 

Vagitanus 

Minor god of passage. Roman. The guardian of 
the infant's first cry at birth. 

Vahagn 

God of victory. Pre-Christian Armenian. Con- 
sidered to epitomize bravery, he is depicted born 
from a fire and with flames for hair. 



332 



VAIROCANA 333 



Vahguru 

Creator god. Sikh. Worshiped in the Golden 
Temple of Amritsar, in northern India. He has no 
icons. 

Vaikuntha 

Aspect of ViSNU. Hindu (Puranic). Visnu is 
depicted under this title residing in his own 
heaven, known as Vaikuntha. He is seen with four 
heads in an attribute known as caturmukha, 
where the central head is human, that to the left 
is Sakti, to the right Narasinha, and facing 
behind, Varaha. As such Visnu's vehicle is either 
the mythical bird, Garuda, or he reposes on the 
serpent Ananta (Sesa). The aspect may also be 
known as Trailokyamohana. 

Vaitnanika 

Generic title for a group of deities. Jain [India]. A 
class of gods said to be borne by, or living within, 
a flying palace, the vimana. 

VAIRACOCHA 

ORIGIN Inca [Peru]. Creator god. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa AD 400 to 

circa AD 1500. 
SYNONYMS Huiracocha; Viracocha. 
center(s) of cult Cuzco 
ART REFERENCES various Sculptures in stone and 

precious metals and carvings (all lost). 
LITERARY SOURCES none. 

The creator of all other supernatural beings and 
of men and animals, Vairacocha is perceived to 
rule the heavens in the fashion of an Inca 
emperor. He is the source of all divine power, but 
not immediately concerned with administration 
of the world and appears only in times of crisis. 
He is also depicted as a heroic figure who once 



traveled the world teaching mankind various arts 
and crafts. He is said to have crossed the Pacific 
Ocean walking upon the water. 

In the chief sanctuary at Cuzco the deities of 
the pantheon were represented in gold statues, 
that of Vairacocha being the most important. It 
is described as having been the size of a small 
boy, right hand upraised with fist clenched, but 
with the thumb and forefinger stretched out. His 
full Inca name, contracted by the Spanish 
invaders, is Ilya-Tiqsi Wiraqoca Pacayacaciq 
(ancient foundation, lord, instructor of the 
world). The title Vairacocha has been used by 
South American Indians into recent times to 
address white people. 



Va'irgin (I exist) 

Supreme being. Chukchee [eastern Siberia]. A 
remote and poorly defined character who lives 
in the zenith of the sky and who created 
the world. Comparable with the Koryak deity 
Tenanto'mwan. 



VAIROCANA (coming from the sun) 

ORIGIN Buddhist [India]. The first and oldest 
dhyanibtiddha or meditation biiddha. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 500 BC to 
present. 

SYNONYMS Buddhaheruka. 

CENTER(s) of CULT pan-Asiatic. 

ART references metal and stone sculp- 
tures, paintings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Sadhanamala and Tantric 
ritual texts. 

One of five mystic spiritual counterparts of a 
human buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. A prod- 
uct of the Adibuddha who represents the 



334 Vairotya 



branch of the cosmos concerned with bodily 
form. He originates from the white mantra syl- 
lable OM and lives in the zenith paradise. His 
icon is normally placed in the innermost part of 
a stupa or shrine. His Sakti is VAjRADHATVlSVARl 
and he is normally accompanied by a lion or two 
dragons. Color: white. Attributes: three monk- 
ish robes and prayer wheel. He is also taken as a 
tutelary deity in Lamaism [Tibet] in which case 
his attributes include bell and prayer wheel. 
Emanations include chiefly Samantabhadra 
but also CUNDA, Grahamatrka, Mahasahas- 

RAPRAMARDANI, MARICI, NAMASANGITI, Sitatap- 

atraAparajita, Usnisavijaya and Vajravahi. See 
also Aksobhya, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi and 
Ratnasambhava. 



Vairotya (having an ax and a goad) 
Goddess of learning. Jain [India] . One of sixteen 
Vidyadevi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 



Vaisnavi 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti of Visnu, also regarded as a form of 
Laksmi. In later Hinduism she became one of a 
group of Mataras regarded as of evil intent. Also 
one of a group of eight Astamataras. In another 
grouping one of nine Navasaktis who, in south- 
ern India, rank higher than the Saptamataras. 
Her vehicle is the hybrid beast Garuda. Attrib- 
utes: child, club, conch, lotus and prayer wheel. 



Vajracarcika 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Aksobhya, she stands upon a corpse. Color: red. 
Attributes: cup, image of Aksobhya on the crown, 
jewel, lotus, skull with noose, staff and sword. 
Three-eyed. 



Vajradaka 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Aksobhya bearing one, three or four heads. 

Vajradhara 

God. Buddhist. An epithet of the Adibuddha but 
also an allegory for the highest huddha. Known 
particularly from Nepal and Tibet. His Sakti is 
Prajnaparamita. Attributes: cup, hook, noose, 
regal ornaments and staff. Three-headed. 

Vajradhatvisvari (lady of the adamantine 
world) 

Goddess. Buddhist. The Sakti of Vairocana and 
also a variety of Marici. Attributes: many, includ- 
ing an image of Vairocana on the crown. 

Vajragandhari 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Color: 
blue or gold. Attributes: arrow, ax, bell, bow, 

hook, image of Amoghasiddhi, knife, noose, 
prayer wheel, staff, sword, and trident. 

Vajragarbha (substance of a thunderbolt) 
God. Buddhist (Vajrayana). A bodhisattva or 
buddha-designate. Color: blue. Attributes: blue 
lotus, book and staff. 

Vajraghanta 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). A female 
dikpala or guardian of the northern direction. 
Color: green or white. Attributes: staff with bell. 

Vajrainrta (immortal of the Vajra sect) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 

Amoghasiddhi. His vehicle is an animal of 



Vali 335 



uncertain identity. Color: green. Attributes: bell, 
club, hook, prayer wheel, staff and sword. 

Vajrapani 

God. Buddhist [mainly Tibet] . An emanation of 
Aksobhya but also sometimes identified with 
Adibuddba. Generally thought to reflect the sec- 
ond DHYANIBUDDHA or spiritual meditation btid- 
dha. Sometimes depicted with a peacock. 
Alternatively considered to be a counterpart of 
the Hindu god INDRA. Color: dark blue or white. 
Attributes: noose, snake and staff Also Acala- 
Vajrapani; Acarya-Vajrapani. 

Vajrapasi 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). A female 
dikpala or guardian of the southern direction. 
Color: yellow. Attributes: staff with noose. 

Vajrasphota 

Goddess. Buddhist. A female dikpala or guardian 
of the western direction. Attribute: staff. 

Vajrasrnkhala (personification) 

1. Minor goddess. Buddhist. One of the Mahayana 
deities said to be an emanation of Amoghasiddhi. 
Some texts describe her as the Sakti of Hevajira. 
Color: green. Attributes: arrow, bow, cup, image of 
Amoghasiddhi on the crown, mane, noose skin, 
and stalJ. Three-eyed and three-headed. 

2. Goddess of learning. Jain. One of sixteen 
Vidyadevi headed by the goddess Sarasvati. 

Vajratara 

Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Considered to 
be an emanation of all the Dhyanibuddhas or 
spiritual meditation buddhas. Also identified as an 



emanation of Ratnasambhava or a form of 
Bhrkuti. She stands upon a lotus. Color: golden. 
Attributes: arrow, blue lotus, bow, conch, hook, 
images of the five Dhyanibuddhas on the crown, 
noose and staff. Three-eyed. 

Vajravarahi (diamond sow) 
Goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana) and Lamaist 
[Tibet]. An emanation of Vairocana and some- 
times identified as the Sakti of Hevajira. In 
Lamaism she accompanies Vajradaka. She is 
depicted treading on a man. Color: red. Attrib- 
utes: principally club, cup, image of Vairocana on 
the crown and knife, but with an assortment of 
other attributes from time to time. Three-eyed 
and three-headed. 

Vajravidarani (tearing asunder) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). Attributes: 
arrows, banner, bow, hook, noose, shield, staff 
and sword. Five-headed. 

Vajrayogini 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). She can 
sometimes be identified carrying her severed head 
in her hand. Color: yellow. Attributes: club, cup, 
knife and staff. Three-eyed. 

Vajrosnisa 

God. Buddhist. Apparently connected with the 
guardian deities or dikpalas in the easterly direc- 
tion. Color: white. 
See also Padmantaka. 

Vali 

God. Nordic (Icelandic). One of the sons of 
Othin, his mother is RiND. A hardened, bold 



336 Valli 



warrior and an excellent shot. He slew HODER 
and thus avenged the death of Balder. One of 
the survivors of Ragnarok destined to live in the 
land which replaces Asgard, Idavoll. Also Ali. 

VaUi 

Goddess. Hindu. The second consort of Skanda, 
usually depicted standing to his right. In its orig- 
inal context the word Valli may mean "earth." 

Valtam 

God. Nordic (Icelandic). According to the Poetic 
Edda (Balder's Dreams) Valtam is the father of 
Othin. 



Vainana 

Incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The fifth avatara of Visnu which 
appears as a dwarf, symbolizing the puny state of 
mankind in the cosmos. According to legend, the 
god took the guise in order to trick Bali, a great- 
grandson of Hiranyakashipu (see Narasinha), 
whose prestige had begun to overshadow that of 
Indra. To restore a proper balance Vamana 
requested from Bali a plot of land three paces 
wide on which to meditate. Visnu returned to 
his proper stature and claimed heaven and 
earth in two steps. He declined to take the third 
which would have also claimed the underworld, 
but instead gave its rule to Bali. The dwarfish 
form bears two arms. Attributes: umbrella and 
waterpot. 

Vana-Durga 

Aspect of DuRGA. Hindu (Puranic). A form of 
the goddess invoked by woodsmen and foresters. 
She often wears an elephant skin, is eight-armed 
and carries an assortment of weapons. 



VANIR 

ORIGIN Nordic (Icelandic). A major group of 
Norse deities concerned primarily with peace 
and prosperity and with the fertility of the land. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP Viking period circa 

AD 700 and earlier, until Christianization circa 
AD 1 100 and in some instances beyond. 
SYNONYMS none. 

center(s) OF CULT various throughout areas of 
Nordic influence, but particularly at Uppsala in 
Sweden. 

ART REFERENCES stone Carving and sculpture; 

artwork on weapons, etc. 
LITERARY SOURCES Icelandic codices; Prose Edda 
(Snorri); Historia Danica (Saxo); various classi- 
cal authors. 

A smaller race of deities than the Aesir gods led 
by Othin. The most important among them are 
Ereyr and Freyja. The sea god, Njord, had 
originally been a Vanir but became hostage to the 
Aesir when the two races were at war. 

Varaha (boar) 

Incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The third avatara of Visnu, which 
appears as a boar. According to legend, he 
descends in this guise to the bottom of the 
primeval sea to rescue the earth, which has been 
removed there by a demon. He retrieves it in the 
shape of a girl. The avatara may be depicted in 
wholly animal form or as a human with a boar's 
head. Epithets include Adivaraha. 

Varahi 

Mother goddess. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A 
Sakti who in later Hinduism becomes one of a 
group of Mataras regarded as of evil intent. 
Also one of a group of eight ASTAMATARAS. In 
another grouping, one of nine Navasaktis who. 



Vasudeva 337 



in southern India, rank higher than the Sapta- 
MATARAS. She sits upon a boar, buffalo or ele- 
phant. Attributes: boar's head, bow, club, cup, 
knife, noose, plough, sword and trident. 

Varahmukhi (having a hoars head) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Marici. Attributes: arrow, bow, flower 
and staff 

Varali 

Alinor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant on Marici. Color: white. Attributes: flower, 
needle, noose and staff. 

Vari-Ma-Te-Takere (the very beginning) 
Mother goddess. Polynesian [Hervey Islands]. 
The creator being who lives at the very bottom of 
the world coconut, sitting in a cramped space 
with her knees and chin touching. She lives in 
Te-Enua-Te-Ki (mute land) in eternal silence and 
is the mother of six children, all deities, three of 
which she plucked from her right side and three 
from her left. 

See also AvATEA, Tinirau, Tango, Tumu- 
TEANAOA, Raka and Tu-Metua. 

VARUNA (coverer) 

ORIGIN Hindu (Vedic, Puranic and early Tamil) 

[India]. Major guardian deity. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1700 BC until 

present. 
SYNONYMS none. 

CENTER(s) OF CULT throughout India but as a 

rain god in the south. 
ART REFERENCES sculptures and reliefs in metal 

and stone. 
LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda, etc. 



Varuna is one of the major Vedic gods, concerned 
with the secure operation of the world's systems 
and of water. Lord of the ASURA class of deities, he 
is thought to equate with the Persian deity Ahura 
Mazda. In later times, a dikpala or guardian of the 
western direction. He is also regarded as an 
Aditya or sun god, the son of Kardama and con- 
sort of Gauri. 

In southern India he is still worshiped during 
periods of drought, particularly in coastal regions 
where he is thought to live in trees. 

In Vedic times his sacred animal was the ram. He 
rides upon a fish or sea monster, or in a chariot 
drawn by seven horses. Attributes: conch, lotus, 
parasol, sacred thread, snake noose, trident and 
water jar with jewels. Pot-beUied and four-headed. 

Vasantadevi 

Goddess of spring. Buddhist-Lamaist [Tibet]. 
Particularly known from Tibet, where she 
appears in the retinue of Sridevi. Her animal is a 
mule. Attributes: cup and sword. 

Vasita (willpower) 

Generic title for a group of goddesses. Hindu. 
Tvelve deities who personify the disciplines 
which result in spiritual regeneration. 

Vasu(s) (excellent) 

Generic title for a group of gods. Hindu (Vedic). 
Eight deities attendant on the Vedic weather god 
Indra, comprising day, dawn, fire, moon, pole 
star, sun, water and wind. Generally carrying a 
rosary and with a Sakti. 

Vasudeva 

God. Hindu. The princely father of Krsna and 
Balarama. Consorts include Devaki, Rohini, etc. 



338 Vasudhara 



Vasudhara (treasurer) 

1. Fertility goddess. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). The Sakti of Kuvera. 

See also KUBERA. 

2. Goddess. Buddhist. A female bodhisattva or 
buddha-Aesigazte who is the Sakti of Vajrasattva 
and a form of Aksobhya or Ratnasambhava. 
Color: yellow. Attributes: book, ear of rice, 
images of Aksobhya and Ramasambhava on the 
crown, parasol, pearl and waterjar with jewels. 

Vasumatisri (beautiful with an excellent mind) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Vasudhara. 



Vasusri (beautiful one) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Vasudhara. 

Vasya-tara (the subjected Tara) 
Gk)ddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 
Amoghasiddhi and considered to be indistin- 
guishable from Arya-Tara. Color: green. Attrib- 
utes: blue lotus and image of Amoghasiddhi on 
the crown. 

Vata 

God of wind. Hindu (Vedic) and Persian [Iran]. 
The name appears in the Rg Veda as a deity of vio- 
lent personality. According to Asvestan tradition 

the god of victory, Verethragna, appeared to 
Zarathustra in the guise of Vata. 

Vatapattrasayin (reclining on a fig leaf) 
Aspect of ViSNU. Hindu (Puranic). The image is 
found in classical bronze sculptures and repre- 
sents either Visnu in a violent form, or Krsna, 



reposed on a fig leaf that floats upon the primeval 
ocean of a new cosmos after the previous world 
order has been destroyed. 

VAYU (1) (the wind) 

ORIGIN Hindu [India]. God of the vnnds. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 1700 BC to 

present. 
SYNONYMS PAVANA. 

center(s) of cult none specific. 

ART references sculptures and carvings in 

metal and stone. 
LITERARY SOURCES the Vedic texts, including Rg 

Veda. 

One of the most important deities of the Vedas. In 
later Hinduism he evolves into a dikpala or 
guardian of the northwestern quarter. He is also 
depicted in some texts as a chariot-driver for the 
god Agni. Color: dark blue. Attributes: arrow, 
hook, prayer wheel, staff and waterjar. 

Vayu (2) 

God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the 
northwestern quarter. 

Vayukumara 

God. Jain [India]. One of the groups under the 
general title of BHVANAVASI (dwelling in places). Of 
youthful appearance. 

Ye 

GoA. Nordic (Icelandic). Listed by Snorri in the 
Prose Edda as one of the sons of Bori and, among 
the gods of Asgard, the brother of Othin and 
ViLl. The three gods are said to have made the 
land and sea out of the flesh and blood of the 
primeval giant Ymir. 
See also BURI. 



Verbti 339 



Ve'ai (grass woman) 

Vegetation spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia]. 
The personification of the grasslands and their 
guardian deity. She is perceived as a shamanka and 
is the consort of Eme'MQUT. 

Veive 

Minor god. Etruscan. A youthful deity whose 
attributes include arrows. His animal is a goat. 

Veja Mate 

Goddess of winds. Pre-Christian Latvian. Also 
responsible for birds and woodlands. 

Velaute'mtilan (sedge man) 
Vegetation spirit. Koryak [southeastern Siberia] . 
The personification of the sedges and there- 
fore guardian of the boggy tundras and their 
animals. 

Veles 

Chthonic underworld god. Slav. Also identified as 
the "catde god." Also Volos. 

Velu Mate 

Chthonic underworld goddess. Pre-Christian 
Latvian. The "queen of the dead." She is depicted 
wearing white and she greets the dead at the 
cemetery. 



Venda 

Creator god. Dravidian (Tamil) [southern India]. 
An ancient vegetation deity. Worshiped in vil- 
lages on the plains, thought to live in trees and 
equated with Indra. 



Venkata 

Form of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). According to the Aditya Purana, 
Venkata is a deity of considerable importance in 
southern India. The name does not occur in the 

north. He is worshiped extensively by Hindus but 
particularly in the Tamil shrine of Tirupati where 
there is argument that the deity depicted is SiVA 
or Karttikeya. The image appears to carry 
attributes of Visnu on the left and Siva on the 
right. Also Venkatesa. 

VENUS 

ORIGIN Roman. Goddess of sexual love and 
beauty. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Aphrodite (Greek); Dione; Cytherea. 
center(s) of cult various; Eryx [Sicily] (as 

Venus Erycina). 
ART REFERENCES various sculptures including the 

Venus of Milo. 
LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

The name is neuter in form but Venus is modeled 
on the Greek goddess Aphrodite. In Roman 
mythology she is a daughter of JUPITER and Dione. 
Her consorts include Mars and the ill-fated Ado- 
nis. She is also linked romantically with Anchises, 
King of Troy. She is a goddess of gardens. In the 
second century AD the Emperor Hadrian dedicated 
a sanctuary to her on the Via Sacra in Rome; it was 
restored as late as the fourth century. 

Venus was celebrated in the Veneralia festival on 
April 1. 

Verbti 

God of fire. Pre-Christian Albanian. He is asso- 
ciated with the north winds. Under Christian 
influence he becomes identified with the devil. 



340 Verethragna 



Verethragna 

God of victories. Persian [Iran]. He is embodied 
by the wild boar which possesses iron-shod feet to 
crush opponents and is perceived to be present in 
the wind. 

Vervactor 

Minor god of ploughing. Roman. Associated with 
sacrifices to Tellus and Ceres. 

Vertumnus 

Minor god of gardens and orchards. Roman. Of 
Etruscan origin, he is the consort of the goddess 
Pomona. Usually represented with garden 
implements and offered fruit and flowers. He was 
celebrated annually in the Vertumnalia festival on 
August 13. 

VESTA 

ORIGIN Roman. Goddess of fire and the hearth. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 

AD 400. 

SYNONYMS Hestia (Greek). 

center(s) OF CULT many sanctuaries through- 
out Italy, but centered on the circular temple 
in Rome where allegedly the Palladium of 
Troy with the sacred flame of the gods was 
preserved. 

ART references Sculptures and reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

Vesta was worshiped with considerable celebra- 
tion in the various pubHc Vestalia festivals, but she 
was also popular as a household guardian. She 
enjoyed a small sanctuary at the foot of the Pala- 
tine HiU. She is generally depicted as a woman of 
great beauty holding a lighted torch and a votive 
bowl. 



Her mortal attendants are the Vestal Virgins, 
selected for office as guardians of the sacred flame 
from the age of six for a minimum of thirty years, 
during which they were expected to maintain 
strict vows of chastity on penalty of burial alive. 
The Vestals dressed in white gowns edged with 
purple and were highly respected members of 
Roman society, enjoying many privileges. During 
Vestalia festivals, donkeys were decked with 
wreaths. The worship of Vesta was abolished by 
the Emperor Theodosius in ad 380. 

Vetali 

Goddess of terrifying appearance. Buddhist- 
Lamaist [Tibet]. One of a group of gauri. Color: 
red. Attribute: a chain. 

Victoria 

Goddess of victory. Roman. Known particularly 
from the second century BC and closely linked 
with Jupiter. Became adopted by the Christian 
church in an angeUc capacity. 

Vidar 

God of war. Nordic (Icelandic). A little known 
Aesir god, described as the silent one. One of the 
sons of Othin. An alternative tradition places 
him as the offspring of a brief liaison between 
Thor and the giantess Gird. A god of great 
strength and support in times of danger. The 
prospective avenger of Othin 's death by the wolf 
Fenrir at Ragnarok, he is said to wear a shoe 
made of material collected throughout time 
which he will place between Fenrir's jaws before 
he tears them apart and runs the beast through 
with his sword. One of the survivors of the final 
great fire and flood, destined to live in Asgard's 
successor, Idavoll. 



^^mala 341 



Vidyadevi 

Generic title for a group of goddesses. Jain 
[India]. Sixteen deities led by Sarasvati who are 
associated with knowledge or learning. 

Vidyapati-Lokesvara 

God. (Buddhist). A variety of the BODHISATTVA 
AvALOKiTESVARA. Depicted resting on a lotus, his 
attributes include a fly-whisk. 

Vidyesvara 

Generic title for a group of deities. Hindu. Eight 
Hberated or emancipated "beings" who are con- 
sidered to be aspects of SiVA. 

Vidyraja 

Tutelary god. Buddhist (Mahayana). One of sev- 
eral deities who are concerned with the imple- 
mentation of the law. 

Vidyujjvalakarili (tongues of fire) 
Goddess. Buddhist. A twelve-headed form of 
Akajata who is said to have been formed in the 
Buddha's sweat. She is often depicted trampling 
the four Hindu deities Brahma, Indra, Siva and 
ViSNU. Color: blue or black. Attributes: many 
and varied. 

Vidyutkumara 

God. Jain [India] . Belonging to one of the groups 

tmder the general title of bhvanavasi (dwelling in 
places). Of youthful appearance. 

Vighnantaka (remover of obstacles) 

God. Buddhist (Mahayana). An emanation of 

Aksobhya who may equate with the Hindu god 



Ganesa. Color: blue. He is also seen as a dikpala 
or guardian of the northerly direction, in which 
case his color is green. Attributes: cup, drum, 
hook, knife, noose and staff. Three-headed. Also 
Analarka. 

Vighnesvaranugramurti 

Family of deities. Hindu (Puranic). A popular 
depiction in art of SiVA (colored black) and Par- 
vati with their son Ganesa after he has been 
decapitated by his father and given the head of an 
elephant by way of replacement. 

Vijaya (victory) 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). An Ekadasaru- 
DRA (one of the eleven Rudra deities). 
Hiranyaksa is considered one of his incarnations. 
Attributes: club, knife, rosary and staff. Vijaya is 
also the name of the bow of Indra. 

Vikalaratri (twilight night) 
Minor goddess. Buddhist (Mahayana). An atten- 
dant of Buddhakapala. 

Vili 

God. Nordic (Icelandic). Listed by Snorri in Prose 
Edda as one of the sons of Bori and, among the 
gods of Asgard, the brother of Othin and Ve. 
The three gods are said to have made the land and 
sea out of the flesh and blood of the primeval 
giant Ymir. 
See also BURI. 

Vitnala (stainless) 

Minor goddess. Buddhist (Vajrayana). One of sev- 
eral deified Bhumls recognized as different spir- 
itual spheres through which a disciple passes. 
Color: white. Attributes: lotus and staff. 



342 Vina 



Vina 

Goddess of music. Buddhist. The personification 
of a lute. Color: yellow. Attribute: a lute. 

Vindhya 

Mountain god. Hindu. Personification of the hills 
forming the northern edge of the Deccan area of 
central India. 

Virabhadra (great hero) 
War god. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). Considered 
to be a form of SiVA, and occasionally of ViSNU, 
Virabhadra acts as a martial aspect of Siva against 
the god Daksa, who according to some accotmts 
abused Siva's wife Sati and drove her to angry sui- 
cide by self-immolation to avenge the slight. He 
is depicted bearing four arms. Attributes: arrow, 
bow, shield and sword. He sometimes wears a 
necklace of skulls. Three-eyed and three-headed. 

Viraj 

Primordial goddess. Hindu (Vedic). Identified as 
the active female creative principle in the Rg Veda. 

Viraratri (night of courage) 
Hindu. 
See also ChinnaMASTAKA. 

Virbius 

Minor chthonic god. Roman. A malevolent 
underworld deity who was frequently invoked 
during the worship of Diana in the Arician wood- 
lands surrounding her sanctuary at Nemi. Vir- 
bius was reputed to prowl these woods and to be 
an emanation of Hippolytus, a mortal who had 
been trampled to death by his horses and made 
immortal by Aesculapius. For this reason the Ari- 
cian woods were barred to horses. 



Virtus 

God of miUtary prowess. Roman. Known partic- 
ularly from the second century BC. 

Virudhaka (sprouted) 

God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the 
southerly direction. Color: blue or green. Attrib- 
utes: skin irom the head of an elephant and sword. 
Also identified as the head of a group of demons, 

the kumbhandas. 

Virupaksa (misinformed eyes) 

1 . God. Hindu. Epithet of SiVA and one of the 

Ekadasarudras or eleven RudR-\ deities. Attrib- 
utes: ax, bell, club, cup, drum, hook, knife, lotus, 
prayer wheel, rosary, Sakti and sword. Three- 
headed. 

2. God. Buddhist. A dikpala or guardian of the 
western direction. God of snakes. Color: red. 
Attributes: jewel, snake and stupa or domed 
shrine. 

Viryaparamita 

Philosophical deity. Buddhist. Spiritual offspring 
of Ratnasambhava. Color: green. Attributes: blue 
lotus and jeweled banner. 

VISNU 

ORIGIN Hindu (Vedic, Epic and Puranic) [India]. 
One of a triad of creator gods. 

KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP possibly from circa 
1700 BC until the present day. 

SYNONYMS appearing as ten major incarnations 
or avataras: Matsya, Kurma, Varcha, 
Narashima, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, 
Krsna or Balarama, Buddha, and Kalki(n). 
Other epithets include Abjaja, Abjayoni, 
Adhoksaja, Anantasayana, Aniruddha. 



'\^svamitra 343 



center(s) of cult many sanctuaries through- 
out the subcontinent. 

ART REFERENCES Sculptures generally in bronze; 
but also in stone. Reliefs. 

LITERARY SOURCES Rg Veda; Mahabharata and 
Ramayana epics; Puranic literature. 

Visnu began, according to the Vedas, as a minor 
cosmic deity imagined striding the sky in three 
giant steps — rising, zenith and setting. He was 
never a solar god, but became briefly associated 
with the movements of the sun in the sky. 

Visnu's prestige developed with the Epics and of 
the three deities making up the apex of the modern 
Hindu pantheon, he is the most widely worshiped 
and pre-eminent (see also Braeima and SrvA). The 
keeper of civilized morality and order. In the 
Mahabharata, he is partly identified with Krsna. 
According to one Puranic legendary source, Visnu 
was created from the left side of the primordial cre- 
ator force. The Puranas also provide complex clas- 
sifications for various aspects of Visnu. His most 
fi-equent consort is the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, 
with whom he is often depicted standing or resting 
on a lotus. His sacred animal is Garuda. 

Visnu is the preserver of the world. He rules real 
time, or history, and through the concept of karma 
he maintains a moral balance which he corrects 
occasionally in the guise of one of his incarna- 
tions. He is a chief adversary of Yama, the god of 
the dead, and has the power to repel death. He is 
also closely identified with sacred water or nara, 
his presence pervading the Ganges. He is beUeved 
to sleep for four months each year, resting on the 
serpent Sesa with a loms sprouting from his navel, 
after which he is roused by a special rite. 

The followers of Visnu are the Vaisnavas and 
are mainly in the north of India, though there 
exists a strong following among the Tamils in the 
south. The \^snava caste mark is a V-shaped sign 
identified with water which has a property of 
descending. 



Visnu is depicted with many heads or with four 
heads, generally with four arms, typically holding 
a wide assortment of attributes including conch 
and prayer wheel. He may also carry a discus, 
which reflects a destructive aspect, a mace of 
authority and a lotus. Around his neck may be 
the sacred stone, the kausrabha, and typically he 
has an obvious shock of chest hair. 

Visnu Trivikrama 

Form of the god ViSNU. Hindu (Epic and 
Puranic). Trivikrama is the transformation into a 
giant from Visnu's dwarf avatara Vamana, in 
order to confirm his dominance over the world by 
covering it in three huge strides. 

Visvakarman (architect of the universe) 
Poorly defined creator god. Hindu (Vedic). Sim- 
ilar to Dmus PiTAR, he is described as the artist 
of the gods who may be linked or identified with 
TVASTAR. He evolved, as the son of Prabhasa 
and Yogasiddha, into an occasional consort of the 
mother goddess Sarasvati. 

Visvaksena (the all-conquering) 
Minor god. Hindu (Puranic). The bodyguard 
and gatekeeper of ViSNU. Tradition maintains 
that Visvaksena was slain by SiVA when he 
refused the latter an audience with Visnu. Eor 
this reason he is generally depicted in the form 
of a skeleton impaled on the trident weapon 
carried by Siva in his aspect of Kankalamurti. 
His attributes include a wheel, club and conch 
shell. 

Visvamitra 

Minor god. Hindu (Puranic). According to 
legend, the father of the god Narada. 



344 Visvarupa 



Visvarupa 

Lesser known incarnation of the god ViSNU. 
Hindu. In Vedic literature he is identified as the 
son of TVASTAR. Visnu took the avatara at the 
request of ArjUNA. His animal is Garuda. Attrib- 
utes: many. Also Viratapurusa. 

Visvosnisa 

God. Buddhist. An USNISA apparently connected 
with the guardian deities or dikpalas in the 
southerly direction. Color: green. 

Vitthali 

God. Hindu (Epic and Puranic). A lesser known 
incarnation of the god ViSNU (or Krsna). The 
cult of Vitthah is centered mainly on Panharpur, 
near Bombay, where he is the object of devotion 
by the Varkari sect. Generally depicted standing 
on a brick, wearing a fez-like hat and with hands 
on hips. Also Vithoba; Panduranga. 

Vitzilipuztli 

Aspect of HuiTZlLPOCHTLl. Aztec (classical 
Mesoamerican). Invoked twice a year, in May 
and December, during an agrarian festival. 
Virginal female worshipers created an image of 
the deity from dough consisting of maize 
flour, beet seed and honey. The image was given 
eyes and teeth using pieces of colored glass and 
whole maize seeds and was paraded, before 
being broken into pieces and eaten as a form of 
sacrament. 

Vivasvan (shining) 

Sun god. Hindu (Vedic and Puranic). The orig- 
inal Vedic list of six descendants of the goddess 
Aditi or Adityas, all of whom take the role of 



sun gods was, in later times, enlarged to twelve, 
including Vivasvan. One of his titles is the 
"embodiment of ancestral law." His consort is 
Saranyu and he is identified as the father of 
Yama and Yami, as well as Manu and the 
Asvins. His color is golden and his attributes a 
forest garland, two lotuses and a trident. Also 
Vivasvat. 

Vodu 

Collective name for gods. Fon [Benin, West 
Africa]. The origin of the term voodoo in the 
Caribbean region. 

Voltumna 

Tutelary god. Etruscan. Originally a vegetation 
deity who was elevated to the position of supreme 
god in the Etruscan pantheon and known in 
Roman culture as Vertumnus. 

Volumna 

Nursery goddess. Roman. The guardian deity of 
the nursery and of infants. 

Vor 

Goddess. Nordic (Icelandic). Of Germanic ori- 
gin, one of the Aesir goddesses listed by Snorri in 
Prose Edda. He suggests that Vor may be con- 
cerned with the making of oaths and of marriage 
agreements, punishing those who break them. 
Possibly also Var(a), though Snorri lists her as a 
separate Aesir goddess. 



Mountain god. Romano -Celtic. A local deity 
from the Vosges known only from inscriptions. 



Vyasa 345 



Vrtra 

Demonic god of chaos. Hindu (Vedic). A pri- 
mordial being who existed before die formation 
of the cosmos and who was slain by the mother 
goddess Sarasvati. 

VULCANUS 

ORIGIN Roman. God of fire and forges. 
KNOWN PERIOD OF WORSHIP circa 400 BC to 

circa AD 400. 
SYNONYMS Hephaistos (Greek). 
center(s) of cult tutelary god at the sea port 

of Ostia. 

ART references various sculptures and relief 
carvings. 

LITERARY SOURCES Aeneid (Virgil), etc. 

The patron god of artisans and blacksmiths, 

Vulcanus is modeled closely on the Greek 
Hephaistos. Attached to the smithy and rarely 
ascending Olympus, in Roman genealogy he is 
the son of Jupiter and Juno. He is generally 
depicted as a rather grotesque figure with one 
leg shorter than the other, a deformity gained as 
a result of being hurled to earth by Jupiter while 
trying to protect his mother from the god's 



wrath. Thereafter he determined to shun the 

company of other gods and set up home in the 
heart of Mount Etna, where he fashioned a 
giant forge. His workers are the one-eyed 
Cyclopes. He created a golden throne for 
Juno and he fashioned both Jupiter's magical 
thunderbolts and Cupid's arrows. He enjoyed 
short-term relationships with various goddesses, 
including Venus and MiNERVA, and with one 
of the Graces. His offspring seem generally 
to have been monstrous. He was celebrated 
in the Vulcanalia festival on August 23, which 
coincides with the period of greatest drought 
and the highest risk of fire in Italy. 

Vyasa 

Minor incarnation of the god ViSNU. Hindu 
(Vedic, Epic and Puranic). Vyasa is said to be the 
author of the Vedas, the Mahabharata epic and 
the Puranas. He ranks with Hyagriva and SARAS- 
VATI as a lord of knowledge and wisdom, and is 
responsible for dividing the Tree of Knowlege 
into parts. In the texts he is depicted as dark- 
skinned and accompanied by four students, 
Sumanta, Paila, Vaisampayana and Jaimini. He 
may be bearded. Also Vedavyasa. 



w 



Wadd 

Moon god. Pre-Islamic southern Arabian. His 
sacred animal is the snake. 

Wadj Wer (the mighty green one) 
Fertility god. Egj^tian. Sometimes depicted in 
androgynous form, he personifies the Mediter- 
ranean Sea or